This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Prudential #AD
The excitement of graduating from college, getting a job and starting out on your own can make you feel invincible. You finally have a regular salary and (shriek of joy) benefits of your own such as medical insurance and contributions to a 401K retirement savings plan. Over the next 10 years of working in corporate jobs, I saw my 401K retirement savings grow and grow magically just by working. That led me to have dreams of hammocks, sunny days and crystal blue water with soft sandy beaches.
Queue tropical music…
Right, isn’t this an option everyone has when they retire? Time to relax, travel wherever you want and make your own schedule?
Queue record scratch…
Many years later, after three kids and their worthwhile but high-cost expenses, multiple medical issues from my family and work-life balance job challenges – I realized I simply stopped saving for retirement. I have enough to retire, but not the “sit all day on a hammock” retirement. I needed to start contributing to my retirement again.
I realized this about the same time I started college planning for my (now) teens, which is a huge expense as well. I asked myself “How did this happen”? How did I forget to keep contributing to my retirement savings after I left my corporate job?
Queue years’ worth of being in a complete sleep deprived parental daze…..
What happened? Parenthood happened. My financial focus changed when I had kids and I also had to pivot from a corporate job to my own consulting practice. I did a great job of setting up my business but forgot about paying myself by keeping up contributions to my retirement savings.
This inspired me to share my tale with others in hopes they can set up retirement savings early in their career and make sure they keep it up. Or, to inspire anyone to start wherever they are to make retirement savings a priority in their lives.
When SheSpeaks and Prudential contacted me about being on a panel to discuss retirement planning, I thought it was so relevant to my personal experience.
Hearing the stories from my fellow panelist @brandijeter (far left) and important statistics on financial planning for women from @SheSpeaking (second from left) helped me realize I was not alone on my need to improve my retirement plan. Then Financial Professionals Anne Chin BeDell (far right) and David Izat from @Prudential shared important insights and tips to get started on my new plan.
See the video below for details on the Prudential “Spark the Retirement You Dream Of” panel discussion:
Here are the tips I would have told my 20 something self:
Tip 1: CREATE A FULL FEATURED FINANCIAL STRATEGY (ROADMAP)
Create an overall financial strategy for your life expenses but also keep in mind planning for the future such as medical issues, retirement, and college savings (if you are a parent). If I can create product roadmaps all the time as a Product Manager, why shouldn’t I create my own financial roadmap?
Tip 2: CHECK THE FINANCIAL STRATEGY (ROADMAP)
Set times each year to check your strategy to keep it top of mind. If you get off track, plan to get back on track.
Tip 3: SEEK OUT PROFESSIONAL HELP WHEN NEEDED
When I left my corporate job, and started my own consulting practice, I should have realized that I needed help to transition from my 401K to a new overall financial strategy. I am great with data analysis related to business or technical products, but not so great when it comes to knowing how to create a personal financial strategy. Luckily, there are financial professionals that can assist in that process.
It is hard to think about the future and retirement when you are starting out a family. Yet, in reality, no one really knows if they will outlive their income. Having a retirement savings strategy is important for financial independence, without depending on family – especially our kids. Instead, I want to be in a position where we could help our kids out if they ever need it.
Women, in particular, need to find ways to generate regular, reliable monthly income in retirement and not count on living off accumulated savings from 401(k)s and other savings vehicles. Since women tend to live longer, they need to make sure they have the income to last their whole lives.
So…. I would have also reminded my past self that even small contributions on a regular basis has long term benefits. I would have told my younger self to work with a Financial Professional before I left my job to create a retirement strategy above and beyond my 401K.
For example, I could have considered including annuities in my retirement strategy to provide a “paycheck” in retirement- giving me the peace of mind that I will have a protected income for the rest of my life.
What is an annuity? An annuity is a long-term investment made with an insurance company, designed to provide income in retirement. The insurance company will provide you with income payments over time, often for life, in exchange for a fee that allows them to protect that income.
This experience helped me learn to embrace my skills and challenges to be open to seeking out help in areas outside of my expertise. There is still is a chance that a dreamy hammock is waiting for me in the future.
This content is sponsored by Prudential and SheSpeaks. #AD, #Prudential
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