By David Ning | U.S.News & World Report LP
A comfortable retirement without money worries
is a goal everyone strives for sooner or later. But even if you don't
quite have the motivation to save aggressively for retirement yet, do
yourself a favor and don't damage your path to financial independence
too severely. Here are a few disasters you need to avoid, which will
make your life much easier when you are interested in preparing for your
Marrying a spendthrift. Marrying a
spendthrift is a big no-no if you ever want to amass a solid nest egg.
It's incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to save enough for a
comfortable retirement unless both you and your significant other are on
the same page. In fact, money problems always rank high in the reasons why people get divorced.
Getting into credit card debt. Don't
swipe your credit cards without thinking it through. Credit card debt
can creep up on you, and before you know it you will amass a huge
balance. A purchase here, a swipe there and you'll be paying so much
interest you'll need to work significantly more to achieve the same goal
one day. That's why even credit cards with 0 percent interest for over a
year can be dangerous. Many people end up racking up a huge balance
they cannot pay off, which results in even more credit card debt when
the rates reset higher.
Failing to develop a savings habit. You
may not feel like saving aggressively, but at least put something away.
Even a dollar every paycheck is a good start. If you have a 401(k) at
work, strongly consider taking full advantage of the match. Also
consider tucking some after-tax dollars into a Roth IRA to get some
tax-free growth. Eventually, you'll want to increase your savings, and it's much easier to increase the amount later than to start a completely new habit.
Worrying too much about others. There's
always going to be an urge to keep up with appearances, but all you're
really doing with those purchases is strengthening your chain to your
job. The worst side affect of increased consumption is that lowering it
back down once you get used to it is much harder. The choice is yours:
Would you rather buy more stuff or have the freedom to choose who you
work for and when you need to work?
Having no idea where the paycheck went each month. Many people don't track how much they spend,
but it's easy to cut out expenses that add no value to your life when
you know where each dollar is going. And even if you don't want to put
it all in savings, you can spend more on areas that actually make you
happy. When you are less stressed you could become more productive at
work and end up making more money, a bonus that keeps on giving.