Guest Post – Mario Vitanelli is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in international politics and finance, retirement and investment. His areas of expertise include European, Asian and Latin/South American economic policy and QROPS. When away from his keyboard, he enjoys photography.
What does it say about me that when I indulge in, “If only I were young again…” reverie, I’m not musing on running through a field of daisies, hitting up the local singles bar or bungee jumping but fantasizing about investing in Google, Microsoft and Apple before they hit the big time. Chances are I’m not the first. Alas, youth has fled but wise investment choices are more important than ever as one approaches the big “R” (for “retirement”, not “Reno”). With youth, the willingness to take risks with one’s nest egg is also generally a thing of the past for most retirees and probably should be. The following outlines a number of practical investment tips that can maximize yield while minimizing loss and risk.
Lifespan and Investment
People are now living longer than ever, though in a number of ways assumptions about retirement and retirement options remain the same. Rather than the denouement, think of retirement as the third act. You may very well be retired for 30 years or more. While that can mean more expenditure, it can also mean time for investments (including bonds) to mature and allows for a little more risk. Still, try to limit those higher yield/higher risk investments to nearer the beginning of a retirement cycle. Plus, be sure those risks are offset by a diversified investment portfolio. I probably don’t need to tell you that risking the whole shebang (or even half of the shebang) on a single risky investment is not the best move.
And look for investment opportunities that are more specifically suited for your situation. For instance, if you have a pension shop around for pension investment packages with a good reputation and return. If you’re a British expatriate (or an American who’d worked in Britain) look into getting a QROPS or QNUPS package. If you’re ex-military, look for preferential insurance and investment that caters to vets, etc.
Where You Live
There are an endless series of money saving articles out there that suggest thrifty tips for penny pinching like limiting the time you spend in the car, putting on a sweater instead of turning up the thermostat, opening windows in the summer to limit use of the AC, etc. I’m of the “if you’re going to get wet you might as well go swimming school” of retirement. If you’re going to make retirement changes, consider makings some big ones. Obviously, the following requires a pretty heady commitment to embracing big time change but consider location or relocation that lends itself to thrift:
Would it be cheaper to move to a smaller place? How much money would you save if you moved somewhere with a moderate temperature so thermostat and AC considerations aren’t a necessity throughout the year. How much would you save in transportation costs if you moved somewhere with an excellent public transportation system or a smaller town with a centralized business and leisure center within walking distance? As is always the case- if you are considering a change of that magnitude, try it before you buy it. That’s huge. I can’t imagine anything quite so disappointing or frustrating as finally moving to that dream home/condo/apt./bungalow in Florida only to find that you hate humidity, heat and alligators. Spend as extended a vacation as is convenient and economically permissible anywhere you plan to live. Same goes for making a big retirement purchase like a boat or RV. It’s no fun to find out you get terrible seasickness or hate driving a really big vehicle after spending tens of thousands on one.
Consider Pre-Retirement Expenditures
This one can seem like a no-brainer but sometimes force of habit overrides practicality where spending is concerned. If you belong to a club or fraternal organization you know realistically you’re not really going to be involved with after retirement, let it go. Review your insurance and fine-tune it for the particulars of your new life and lifestyle. Consider switching providers to one that caters more to retirees or at least tell your current provider you’re going to- see about wrangling some better rates. Review all your habits and expenditures with an eye toward the new retirement normal and cutting waste.
And a big one- check the internet and wherever else for senior discounts. There is a world of them out there and they can prove a really effective money saver. Look into investment possibilities that are specific to you. So those are at least a few things to think about. With some shrewd investment choices, frugal living habits and an ear to the ground for good deals you can concentrate on fishing, golfing, gardening, reading or whatever else takes your fancy and not on financial uncertainties.