In all honesty, I must start with a disclaimer. I am heading into quicksand in approaching this topic as I have no background in finances other than my own. That said, I have to say that my assets are growing at a good rate thanks to strategies I have adopted, and I am sure there are lots of you out there with equally good plans, who might wish to share them in the interest of helping your peers. I “retired” at 59, with far less in assets than is recommended. It was obvious that, though I could begin drawing retirement from my company, I could not afford to dip into my assets. So it was clear in the beginning that I would still need to have a new source of income. In my case I was able to work under contract with my previous employer, doing a part-time job that I knew I would enjoy. It is obviously safest to have employment lined up prior to giving up your career, and quite a number of people are actually able to line something up through their current employer. Otherwise, there are plenty of on-line employment services, such as monster.com, available at your fingertips. A quick search will also give you lots of options for preparing a fresh resume.
Another of my strategies was to take advantage of Roth IRAs. Until close to retirement I hadn’t given this much thought, as my savings all headed to my 401K. Because I was also somewhat interested in taking more advantage of the stock market, I went to E-trade, on-line, and for just the cost of my trades ($9.99 per) I was able to initiate a Roth IRA and use E-trade’s extensive assistance, in the form of articles, ratings and information about the stocks, to start a small portfolio, which has done well and grows tax free. This continues to be a source of enjoyment, as I research, buy and sell and watch that little nest egg grow.
The last piece of my success was through advice from the financial planner available to me through my 401K. He recommended putting my funds into an “income lock” contract, whereby my base amount is guaranteed to not lose ground. It’s value is assessed on the anniversary of the day I initiated it. If my funds do poorly, my base amount remains the same until the market recovers. This plan allows my savings to be invested in areas of higher risk and has resulted in some good returns.
The bottom line is: Take part in your investments. Understand them and seek out all information available through financial advisors you know and trust, as well as trusted investment sites on-line.