Once again we find ourselves at the end of the year—and the end of the 2014 Investing Challenge. All year we’ve encouraged you to dig deep and invest an extra $300 a month toward retirement.
We had a couple of goals in mind when we launched the Investing Challenge back in January: First, we wanted to lighten the mood surrounding the topic of retirement. We’re always hearing about new studies that show how terrible Americans are at preparing for retirement, but none of those studies seem to offer any solutions real people can use to change their situation.
But we’ve found that if you stretch your budget to invest an additional $300 a month and keep it up for at least a year, that extra investing becomes a habit—a habit that will pay off in the long run. If you just keep on investing that $300 a month for five years and then leave it in your retirement account to grow for 30 years, you could add $260,000–$435,000 to your retirement nest egg!
Making It Work for You . . .
Second, we wanted you to see for yourself that investing more for retirement can be easier than you think. While it takes a bit of effort to fit $300 for investing into your budget, with some thought, creativity and discipline, most of us can do it.
And you didn’t disappoint us! You shared tons of terrific ideas you used to meet the Investing Challenge! Many of you decided you were eating up your retirement budgets in restaurants every week, so you committed to eating at home more in order to have a more secure future. Others found different ways to cut the budget, from opting for free entertainment to giving up luxury expenses like housecleaning and grass cutting.
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You also had plenty of painless ways to meet the Investing Challenge. We love the idea of rolling a raise into your retirement budget and adjusting your take-home pay so that you can invest more during the year instead of giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan.
And Encouraging Others Through Your Success
We appreciated the stories you shared about overcoming your own personal investing obstacles. Rick P.’s story was one of our favorites since he spoke to a concern many folks have—getting a late start on retirement investing. Rick, from Cookeville, TN, learned how far behind he was in saving for retirement at a Financial Peace University class in his area. “At first I felt discouraged because of my age and the fact that this was a late start,” he said.
Instead of getting overwhelmed by the idea of building a nest egg at the eleventh hour, Rick took what he learned at FPU and met with one of Dave’s Investing Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) to get his retirement on track.
Now Rick is 59 and is looking forward to the future. “We are now totally debt-free! Our Roth IRAs are fully funded, and our 401(k)s are on track! Yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is a sunrise on a great retirement ahead!”
How to Keep The Challenge Working for You
Rick’s got the right idea! He took action and got professional advice about how to put his retirement dollars to work. The same goes for you! After working so hard to increase the amount you’re investing every month, you need to make sure your retirement accounts are the best they can be. That means investing in good growth stock mutual funds and maintaining a balance of fund types so you can smooth out the stock market’s ups and downs.
This retirement account maintenance isn’t something that ends with the Investing Challenge. Now that you have a growing nest egg, it’s your responsibility to keep it in tip-top shape year in and year out!
But you don’t have to take on that task alone. Like Rick, you can work with one of Dave’s experienced investing advisors to manage your retirement accounts, and you can trust your ELP to be in it for the long term. Let us put you in touch with your investing ELP today!