As you work and plan for retirement, financial freedom can seem like an unobtainable goal. And yet, many people manage to become financially independent by retirement (or earlier). If it seems like a daunting task, keep in mind that wealthy people tend to have several traits in common with one another. CNN Money actually researched this topic, and found that people who are worth 5 million dollars or more have seven core traits.
They're entrepreneurs. While it is certainly possible to become wealthy by working a well-paying job and investing your money wisely, business owners tend to have a higher net worth.
They're energetic. These people have high amounts of energy, sleep less than the average person, and have positive attitudes toward life. One core personality trait is the ability to visualize a potential future, and having the focus and determination to work toward a goal.
They work long hours. All of that energy is funneled into 60-80 hour work weeks. These busy entrepreneurs tend to work on vacation as well.
They're confident. Wealthy people tend to have a positive, can-do attitude. They believe they can do anything with enough determination.
They're discerning toward their relationships. Successful people know that they may not always have all of the answers – but they surround themselves with smart people who can help them succeed. As for business owners, they tend to do better when they form partnerships rather than remaining sole proprietors.
They're modest. Contrary to what you may believe, many successful, wealthy people do not live extravagant lifestyles. They live modestly and save, save, save as their income grows.
They take more risks, but are not impulsive. Wealthy people are often those who have taken calculated, well-planned risks. They don't bet everything on one investment, but they are willing to put some money and energy into higher-risk investments with a larger payoff.
So what can we learn from these qualities of wealthy people? No one is saying you can instantly change your personality, and perhaps going into business is not on the horizon for you. But if you can adopt some of these attitudes and incorporate them into your career, you stand a better chance of making more money and becoming financially independent in retirement.
14113 – 2015/2/13
How to Ask for a Raise
As you progress in your career and continue saving for retirement, you will most likely face two challenges: First of all, inflation causes your living expenses to rise a little bit each year. Second, you may find it difficult to save enough for retirement as more of your money goes toward food, gas, college savings, and so on.
A logical solution to this problem is to earn more money. But obviously, there are only so many hours in the day, and who wants to take on a second job? Your best bet is to find a way to make more money in your current career. If you don't want to leave your job for a better one, you may have to learn how to ask your boss for a raise.
Timing is everything. In most industries, you can't expect a raise more often than once per year. So make sure your request is reasonable. If it is, take advantage of your work anniversary or an evaluation period. Keep in mind that the budget for raises may be decided several months before evaluations happen, so talk to your boss ahead of time to make sure you get a bigger slice of the pie.
Be straightforward. Start by reminding your boss that your skill level has improved and you have taken on increased responsibility in the company. Remember to mention any important accomplishments over the previous year.
Be realistic. Do some research so that you know how much money your company typically spends on raises each year. Also seek to discover what other companies pay employees of your skill level in the same position.
Gamble intelligently. With some managers, it might be smart to ask for a higher amount than you actually expect, knowing that a compromise is inevitable. With others, this might come off as a ridiculous or unrealistic expectation that does more harm to the conversation than good. Knowing your manager's personality and approach to business is key to deciding between these two options. A third option is not to mention a specific figure at all, and see what your boss offers you.
Don't make threats. Threatening to leave the company if you don't receive the salary you want can actually backfire. It makes you look disloyal and does not promote a team player image of your personality. Focus on your worth instead.
Once you receive that raise, remember not to spend all of it on lifestyle upgrades. Divert a portion of your raise into your retirement account. You won't miss the money, and you will thank yourself later.
14114 – 2015/2/13
As your retirement date approaches, you may begin to worry that you won't meet your retirement goal of saving a certain amount of money. If this situation happens to you, you have a choice to make: You can change your goal, or you can find another way to make it to your original goal.
One option is to live a more conservative lifestyle in retirement than you had originally planned. For instance, if you had planned on international travel, you may decide taking less expensive trips here in the US may satisfy your wanderlust. Reducing your living expenses, whether it's your home, vacations, cars, or eating and shopping habits that need to change, is one way to stick to your original targeted retirement date even though you may not have made it to your savings goal. You will probably choose this option if you need to retire for health reasons, or simply don't want to delay retirement any longer.
On the other hand, you may be willing to work a few more years in order to make it to your goal. This gives you more time to save money, and you can also shorten the length of time you have to live off of your retirement fund.
If you can delay retirement until you reach full retirement age (65 to 67, depending on your year of birth), you can earn a monthly Social Security check that is about 30 percent larger than it would be if you retired at 62. In fact, if you work beyond full retirement age, you can actually increase your monthly benefits once you do retire. Talk to your insurance professional or Social Security representative to see how your checks may differ depending upon the date you decide to retire.
Another way to keep your original retirement date is to take on a part-time job after you end your primary career. You can still enjoy plenty of travel and leisure time, while boosting your monthly income. The only problem with this plan is that it can be difficult to know how long you will enjoy good health. At some point you may need to quit your part time job, so keep that in mind. This isn't a good strategy to employ if you can't live off of your primary retirement income.
14115 – 2015/2/13
There are a lot of different things that can throw your retirement plans off track. We often worry about downturns in the stock market, job loss, health emergencies, and other disasters that could cost us our financial well-being. But another danger may be lurking right in your own home, and may even be affecting you already.
Sometimes spouses cheat – financially, that is. In fact, a recent study by CreditCards.com found that one in five Americans has made a major purchase of 500 dollars or more without consulting or informing their spouse. And about 7.2 million Americans keep money in secret bank accounts, or have extra credit cards without their spouse's knowledge.
At first glance this type of behavior may seem like a simple “white lie”. What they don't know can't hurt them, right? If you're doing it, maybe you just think you're avoiding a fight, or that you worked hard for your money and deserve to splurge when you feel like it.
The problem is, aside from potentially angering your spouse, this type behavior can make it very difficult for you to stay on a reasonable budget. If you both aren't aware of how much money is coming into the household and how much is going out, you could end up in a real financial mess sooner or later. Not to mention, hiding money or avoiding communication about money matter can lead to late bill payments and harm to your credit score.
Hiding money or spending habits from your spouse is also a sign that your financial values are not aligned. As you save and prepare for a future together, you really need to be on the same page so that you can most effectively work toward your goals.
It's an uncomfortable conversation for some couples, but it's one that you must have. Talk honestly and openly about finances, and keep the lines of communication open. Talk about your goals first, to make sure you agree on issues like retirement and budget, and then discuss how you can reach those goals together. You may both have to compromise in order to reach a middle ground, but keep in mind that a comfortable retirement depends on your willingness to work toward this goal together.
14116 – 2015/2/13
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