Outsider Tip of the Week
If you react appropriately at the right times, it'll be far easier in the long run.
Here are a couple important milestones you should reach before retiring:
1. Wake-Up Calls. These can occur several times throughout your life. The first might happen when you're young, and you realize you should have been saving since your first day of work... Others will come later, whether due to layoffs or a realization that you're falling behind. Use them to rally yourself and make changes to the way you save and invest.
2. When End-of-Year Account Statements Arrive. When people start saving for retirement, they often stick to classic allocations, or focus on how much they put into accounts. As time passes, balances grow, the investment climate changes, and a lot of potential compounding returns can be missed... Clearly define a personal strategy, and refine it over time each year when you receive and review your annual statement.
3. Paying Off A Mortgage. You will need to remove any debt that requires you to work in order to actually retire. Pay more than the minimum on your mortgage or car payments, and remove the large obligatory payments from your finances sooner rather than later. You don't want a bank holding a lien while you're on a fixed income. When everything is paid off, ramp up your savings instead of your lifestyle.
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