April 20, 2012 5:08 am
Financial experts agree that long-term investing is the surest way to build savings—and also that you do not need a lot of money to get started. What is critically important, however, is that you save on a consistent basis.
There are classes you can take, books you can read, and experts you can consult in order to learn the finer points of investing. To begin with, however, there are three fundamental steps you must take:
- Determine your savings goals. You need to know what your savings goals are in order to figure out how to get there. Let’s say you want to retire at age 65 with the same standard of living you have now. You can find retirement calculators online to help you determine how much money you will need in order to reach that goal.
- Evaluate the stock market. Guaranteed investments and savings bonds are great for reaching short-term goals. They generally return about 2-5 percent at best. But if you have some time to reach your goal, investing in the market will likely be your best approach. Averaged out over the last 25 years, despite some trying times, DOW returns have paid around 9 percent or 10 percent. Here’s the difference: Over 25 years, a $10,000 investment at a 3 percent rate of return will grow to $26,000. A 9 percent return will give you $86,000.
- Understand that time is money and plan accordingly. For saving money to be successful, it must be approached as a long-term plan—there are no get-rich-quick plans that really work. Therefore, it makes sense that the earlier you start to save, the more money you will have at retirement. In these scenarios, assume a 10 percent rate of return compounded annually:
- Begin investing $100 per month at age 30 until you reach age 65. At that point, you will have about $345,000 in investments. You will have put in $42,000 over the 35 year span. The other $303,000 is from the growth of your money over time.
- Begin the same $100-per-month saving plan at age 20. At age 65, you will have about $916,000. You will have invested $54,000. The other $862,000 is from the growth of your money over time.
Published with permission from RISMedia.