Elements of the Ideal Retirement
Irrespective of any of the advice you may read. Here are 9 principles that should govern you planning for an Ideal Retirement.
1. Make your cash work for you
You are not making much money if you have cash in a money market account. Look for other alternatives.
2. Shop around for interest rates
Try and find the best interest rates you can to provide some protection against inflation. Don't leave excess funds in your current account earning no interest.
3. Manage your emergency fund
These funds are not likely to be needed any time soon so maximise their return. However ensure that they are available if you need them in a hurry.
4. Asset allocation is a priority
The way the assets are allocated in your portfolio is the most important investment decision you will make. The allocation will specify how much is invested in fixed income and equity investments and within equity how much is in big company stock funds compared to small company stock funds and how much in value stocks or growth stocks.
5. Rebalance your investments
Returns on the various elements of the portfolio will vary year by year. To ensure that the risk stays the same as the planned risk the portfolio will need to be rebalanced annually.
Many portfolios are not that well structured. The benefit of diversification is that when one part of the portfolio doesn't do that well it should be supported by another portion that does exceptionally well. When thinking about diversification don't forget to consider small cap shares and international options.
7. Define your investment policy
Have a written investment policy for yourself. It is a proven fact that people who have a written plan are far more likely to achieve their goals than those who just sort of think about them. As you write down your policy you will be forced to think about the various elements and the plan will help you to see the bigger picture when the market is trying to manipulate your emotions.
8. Set measurable goals
Have a written retirement plan with specific long-term financial goals. Think about when you want to retire and what retirement will mean for you. Think about the lifestyle you wish to lead and the financial resources you need to support it. A rule of thumb is to have a portfolio of 20 times the size of the annual income you will initially want from that portfolio.
9. Have written down plans
The whole concept of retirement planning might sound like quite a mission and you're right … it is! But if you don't have clear goals and plans to achieve those goals you will drift aimlessly in a dream.