Check out these four tricks used to get you to spend more (without you knowing it).
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Welcome to June! Time for lazy, sunny days and warm summer nights. Time for families to recharge after the daily school-and-work grind.
But don’t forget—it’s also the sixth month of the 2014 Investing Challenge! You’re halfway through your year-long commitment to invest an additional $300 a month for retirement. You decided back in January to make retirement savings a priority, and you dug into your budget to find the extra money. Most importantly, you’ve stuck with it!
Now, as your routine shifts from winter/spring mode to full-on summertime fun, your budget will probably change, too. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing the purse strings a bit during the summer—as long as you plan for it and don’t let it interfere with your long-term goals.
Always keep in mind your reason for making that commitment to bump up your retirement savings. You want that extra savings to become a habit! Invest $300 a month for 12 months, and it will become automatic. You’ll adjust to the change in your budget and continue to invest that $300 a month without any reminders from us.
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In just five years, you will have invested $18,000 more for retirement than you would have without the Investing Challenge. After 30 years of compound growth, that $18,000 can end up adding $260,000–435,000 to your retirement nest egg!
There’s No Time Like Now!
If this is the first time you’ve heard about the Investing Challenge, or if you’ve heard about it but hesitated to get on board, we’re not leaving you out. You can take on the Investing Challenge and make your commitment to increase your retirement investing by $300 a month anytime. Here are the ground rules:
—First, you need to be out of debt and have your fully funded emergency fund. Until you have this foundation in place, retirement investing should wait.
—If you’re already investing 15% of your income for retirement—awesome! Stay focused on building up your kids’ college fund and paying off your mortgage.
We chose the $300 figure because it was enough to make an impact on your retirement fund without being too much for most folks to fit into their budgets. But if $300 is truly too much, you can still participate in the Challenge. Just increase your retirement investing amount by 1% or 2%. As long as you’re working toward that 15% goal, we’ll be behind you all the way!
Investing Challenge in Action
Michelle S. from St. Clair County, Michigan, used her version of the one-step-at-a-time approach to reach her 15% goal. “I’ve never felt like I could save money like you talk about,” she said. “It’s taken a while, but I’m finally doing it!”
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She began a few years ago by investing just enough to get the full match in her employer’s retirement plan. “I never missed any of it,” she said. “It’s so much easier when you never see it.”
This year, Michelle re-evaluated her budget and realized she could double what she had been investing for retirement and open a Roth IRA to invest an additional $200 a month. She also consulted a financial advisor to adjust her investments to make sure her plan stays on track.
“It’s amazing how good this feels,” Michelle told us. “Thank you for all your great advice and helpful reminders.”
Get the Most Bang for Your 300 Bucks
Once you’ve taken on the Challenge, you’ll want to make sure you’re putting your money where it will do your nest egg the most good. Dave recommends good growth-stock mutual funds with a history of above-average performance for retirement investing.
You can find the best funds and make sure your plan is on track by working with an experienced investing advisor. Your advisor should be someone you trust—someone with the heart of a teacher who will show you how to make good investing decisions so you can have confidence in your ability to have a secure retirement.
If you’re looking for the right person to help you with your retirement investing, we can put you in touch with an investing professional Dave recommends in your area.