Sixty-five, an anniversary that many of us look forward to, became the full retirement age in the 1930s. By 1940, those who were 65 could expect to live another 12, 7 or 14.7 years (men and women, respectively). By the 1990s, these averages had dropped from 15.3 to 19.6, but the retirement age had not changed. Since many of us can hope to live 30 or even 40 years after retirement, we need a big nest egg!

If you are nearing retirement age and are less prepared than you would like, you may need to delay retirement. But regardless of your age, there are things you can do now to make sure you can comfortably retire. Here are four tips I’ve found that can help anyone make better investment decisions for better retirement:

Don’t politicize your wallet

When we are afraid we tend to do wrong, and this is especially true when it comes to money matters. In my 50 years in finance, I have seen this time and time again throughout the political cycle. People fear that the stock market will crash if a certain candidate is elected, so they make rash financial decisions that end up hurting them.

My advice: don’t politicize your wallet. Whether a Republican or a Democrat is in power, it doesn’t make as much of a difference to your investment portfolio as you might think. In fact, when you look at the S&P 500 over the past 100 years, the incumbent president didn’t make a big difference in the performance of the stock market during his tenure.

No matter what happens in politics, you need to choose an investment strategy and consider sticking to it through all the political changes. As the stock market fluctuates, things are rarely as bad as people think.

Start in your twenties

When you’re 20, retirement feels like a world of its own. But the reality is that the quality of your retirement can be determined in your twenties. And if you don’t set aside enough and invest for growth, you probably won’t have enough money by the time you’re ready to retire.

Let’s say you’re 25 and want to be a millionaire in 40 years. If you invest $ 5,000 per year and earn a reasonable amount of interest – we’ll say 7% – you will reach your goal with approximately $ 1,000,000 in your account. (This is a hypothetical example for illustration purposes only. Actual results will vary. No specific investment was used in this example, and it does not take into account the deduction of fees or taxes.)

But if you wait until you’re 35, you’ll have to invest $ 10,000 a year to get the same results. And if you wait until you’re 45, you’ll need to invest $ 20,000 each year. But if you don’t invest anything before age 55, it becomes impossible to earn enough interest at age 65. If you were to invest $ 40,000 each year, you would have to earn more than 12% interest, which just won’t be the case. to arrive.

Try Nerd Wallet’s Compound Interest Calculator to run through other scenarios and see how much you’ll need to set aside each year to be ready for retirement.

Invest, don’t speculate

It is important to find the balance between investing too aggressively and not aggressively enough. If you are too aggressive, it can turn into speculation rather than investment. Speculating is akin to gambling, and I have seen many well-meaning young Utahns fall into this trap.

On the other hand, if you don’t invest aggressively enough or invest at all, you might outlive your money. Refraining from investing gives the impression of avoiding risk, but taking the risk of outliving your money is also risky!

A wise investment is based on the weighting of risk and return. There are many tools to invest for both growth and security, like simple diversification, designed to protect you with simple numbers. When your investment portfolio is well managed, there is less risk of losing your money.

Don’t watch your wallet

When people first start investing, they tend to watch their portfolio closely, checking how it is doing daily. They are then tempted to sell as soon as they see a price spike, which often ends up being a mistake.

As the saying goes, the weather in the markets is better than the timing of the markets, and research confirms this. A study by Charles Schwab Company found that “between 1926 and 2011, a 20-year holding period never produced a negative result”.

In another study, Charles Schwab Company found that “the best action a long-term investor can take … is to determine the level of exposure to the stock market appropriate to your goals and risk tolerance, and then to consider investing as soon as the current level of the stock market.

People who participate in 401 (k) plans are generally successful if they choose investments that match their needs and goals and then leave them alone. They often find themselves with a better income after retirement than before!

In summary, don’t politicize your portfolio, start investing young, don’t speculate, and avoid constantly looking at your portfolio. No matter how much time you have left until retirement, you can make changes today that will help improve your financial situation. If you want personalized advice, contact Merrill Financial Associates to start creating a strategy that matches your needs and goals.

This article is intended for informational / educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell any investment product. Merrill Financial Associates is located at 3549 North University Avenue, Suite 175, Provo, UT 84604 and can be reached at 801.356.7100. Advisory services offered by Commonwealth Financial Network®, a registered investment adviser.

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