We all want a wee bit of the luck of the Irish in life, but we shouldn’t plan our retirement on finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Instead, it’s better to prepare for the days of non-working life ahead of time so you can enjoy your retirement living the way you want.

 

One of the first places I tell my clients to look when they start preparing for retirement is with their current employment. Are they being underpaid? Can they negotiate for more money? Or should they take a new job with better compensation? One client of mine wanted to know if she could  retire by age sixty, but we helped her reach her financial independence goal by fifty-five just by re-evaluating her current employment situation. She was in a lucky position where she was being recruited by other companies. She liked her job and her company, so she took her demand to her current employer and was able to renegotiate her contract — and she became financially independent by the age of fifty-five!  She took control of her destiny and while she continued to work until sixty, it was by her choice!

 

Many other advisors and pundits tell you that it’s important to go into retirement debt free. And while we don’t advocate retiring in heaps of debt, we do believe in using your debt smarter.  Say that you have a $500,000 mortgage on your house that costs you about $25,000 a year. You’re one of those people who decides, “You know what? I’m going to pay it off quicker. I have a good job. I have the extra cash flow for it, so I’m not only going to pay my $25,000, I’m going to pay an extra $25,000 each year.”

 

Accelerating mortgage payments is a very common choice people make. But suppose that instead of putting that $25,000 into the house, you added it to your Wealth Building Formula® variable, investable cash, or C. This might get you to your financial goals quicker, or you might have more cash flow when you get to the end of your T,  or Time in your Formula and reach retirement or financial independence. People accelerate payments all of the time and don’t realize that they are just adding more time in which they “have” to work, are increasing the risk in their portfolios, or are setting themselves up to have less cash flow when they retire.

 

It’s also important to diversify your retirement funds. Take Bill, who was a client I had in 1987 and was in the real estate business. He was a high-level executive in a big firm that developed shopping malls and bought and sold very large properties. He and his wife, Mary, enjoyed a nice lifestyle. Bill was sixty-one; Mary was a little younger. They’d invested in some of these shopping centers and industrial parks because the company always kept shares for executive retirement. What they didn’t realize is that they had all their eggs in one basket. All of a sudden the 1987 recession hit, and what suffered the most at that time was real estate. All of these properties that had made them wealthy on paper were suddenly worth a whole lot less. What was worse was that his company had to downsize, so they asked him to leave. In the end, he had no income and an almost-worthless portfolio. Fortunately, while it took more years of having to work, with our guidance they eventually recovered.

 

For more tips on ensuring you can retire on time, visit tswealth.com.