The world has changed forever in 2020 with COVID-triggered seismic shifts hitting economies, businesses and personal finances.
Yet we all still desire to retire comfortably with financial security and at an age of our choosing – and yes, it is still possible.
The far-reaching and severe economic fallout has impacted all aspects of financial life and has left many anxious about their retirement planning strategies.
And there’s more geopolitical uncertainty to come, which will drive markets and therefore personal financial plans.
However, whilst financial strategies need to be reviewed to ensure they’re suitable for this new era and the financial environment – which includes a strong probability of negative interest rates and volatile markets – it remains entirely possible to retire comfortably.
But it comes with a caveat. That is, in order to make this a reality, you’ll need to form and maintain some good habits.
You’ll need to ensure that you save, that you invest, and that you’re tax-efficient. It’s my ‘SIT’ process – and all three of the principles are essential for long-term financial freedom.
The amount you save from each payday while you’re still working is one of the most important factors in how much retirement income you'll have.
In my experience, people simply are not saving enough to live a comparable lifestyle to their current one throughout retirement.
With this in mind, it is worth remembering that, for those who get paid monthly, there are only 120 paydays in a decade.
There are a number of savings solutions that can help you master the art of saving correctly.
But remember, the sooner you start, the easier it will be to attain the desired and/or required amount of savings.
Unless you are to inherit a hugely significant amount of money, saving alone is unlikely to be enough.
Having the appropriate investment mix in a properly diversified and regularly reviewed portfolio is vital for long-term financial success.
Financial markets are always fluctuating, but history teaches us that over the longer-term their performance is consistent; they almost always go up.
If you are not invested, you will not benefit from the potentially considerable returns you could have been receiving to enhance your retirement income.
Tax efficiency is the third pillar of successful retirement planning. There are legitimate ways to reduce your tax burden - and these could amount to major savings over the years.
Despite the world being upended in recent months, I believe that should people stick to the SIT principle, they will be well on track to retiring comfortably.
Financial security in retirement needn’t be a pipe dream – even in these highly unusual times.
Nigel Green is founder and CEO of deVere Group. One of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations, de Vere does business in 100 countries and has more than $12 billion under advisement.
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