I Realized That I Can’t Put Off Planning for Retirement

6/4/2014 3:37:00 PM
I’ve spent years building a solid business and now my family and I are living a comfortable life in a nice home with (mostly) all the toys I want. I don’t want that to change much, and I don’t want to struggle financially later in life.

I saw an ad in a magazine for retirement planning the other day. It could have been Charles Schwab or Fidelity or one of those companies, and it made me think about my retirement planning. My wife used to work for a large company, and she had a 401(k) plan that helped us save a little from every paycheck for retirement. A fixed percentage of her salary went into a retirement plan, and the company even provided a match so that the account grew faster (there are many reasons for the match that I won’t get into here; it’s a great thing for the employee, though). Now, with her staying home, we no longer have the “forced” savings plan of money being automatically put into an account. It made me realize that I have to get off of my butt and do something about it. And I’m sure many of you are in a similar boat.

As small business owners, most of us don’t have the luxury of a corporate 401(k) with matching company funds or an HR department to make sure we don’t miss signing up and a hotline we can call for financial advice.

The biggest challenge to putting money aside for retirement is inertia, at last on my part. There’s always something else to use the money for: reinvesting in the business, renovating the house, buying that cool new toy (speaker, receiver, car, boat, etc.) that I’ve always wanted. But all it takes is a few minutes on
a mutual fund’s website or a meeting with a financial advisors that you trust to come up with a good savings strategy.

You can even set up automatic withdrawals from your bank account into your retirement account. That way you are always putting money in, in good times and bad, whether you remember to or not each month. And, if set up properly, the money is put in pre-tax so you can let it grow tax-free (or it can go in as after-tax money, and you can take it out with no taxes on the profits). As small business owners, there are even opportunities to put in more than employees in big companies can by setting up special IRA (Individual Retirement Accounts) that allow us to save a larger dollar amount tax-free.

There are many ways to save for retirement, and I won’t get into any kind of specific advice here, as I’m clearly not a financial advisor and definitely don’t want to get into any trouble with the SEC.But you should consult an advisor if you aren’t sure about what you need to do or what the best steps are for your particular situation. The most important thing is to not put it off until it is too late. The earlier you start in life, the better chance of having what you need at retirement.

I implore you all to have the retirement you’ve dreamed of and that you’ve earned. Don’t think it’s something you can do tomorrow while you build that addition on your home today.
 
+Todd Anthony Puma is president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City.
Todd Anthony Puma 

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