How to save and invest for retirement

Cómo ahorrar e invertir para la jubilación

How to save and invest for retirement

In another article of this blog we gave you some keys to know how much to save for retirement. Today we will see what alternatives there are to make those savings pay off. That is, how we can invest for retirement.

Someone once said that it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. We cannot anticipate what will happen 20, 30 or 40 years from now, but we can prepare for it. When it comes to saving and investing, the best prescription is to start early and keep a long-term focus. When considering saving and investing for retirement, there are, in addition, several factors to keep in mind.

  • Set clear goals and objectives. It seems obvious, but knowing what we want to achieve is the first step in getting there. Therefore, it is advisable to have our retirement goals defined. This includes the age at which we would realistically like to retire and the lifestyle we would like to maintain during retirement. These goals will help you determine how much you need to save.
  • Evaluate retirement expenses. Estimating our living expenses in retirement will help us get a clearer picture of our financial outlook. This will involve evaluating such things as housing, food, health care, travel and other personal expenses. And keep in mind that inflation can make all of the above more expensive….
  • Calculate the income gap. Once we’re clear on our goals and how much they might cost us, it’s time to figure out if we’re on track to achieve them. That’s why it’s helpful to calculate the difference between expected income during retirement (such as pensions, social security or other sources) and projected expenses. The resulting gap will help us know how much we need to save to meet our additional income needs.
  • Savings rate. Planning is an essential part of investing. Establishing an appropriate savings rate to achieve our retirement goals is key. This involves determining how much we should save regularly and allocate to investments to reach your goal. The safe withdrawal rate can help us in this task.
  • Portfolio diversification. Build a diversified investment portfolio that fits your risk profile and time horizon. Invest in a combination of assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate or other options, considering the balance between risk and return. Diversification not only helps reduce the risk of our investments, but increases long-term returns.
  • Review and adjust. Our circumstances are likely to change as we execute our retirement savings and investment plan. Therefore, we should periodically review the plan and make adjustments as needed to achieve our goals.
  • Financial advice. If you feel that the task is beyond you or there are aspects you don’t know how to approach, you can seek professional advice from a financial planner or investment advisor.

Investing for retirement

Once we are clear about what we want to achieve, it is time to consider how to achieve it. Investing is perhaps the only reasonable method, along with saving, to increase our chances of enjoying a peaceful retirement. These are the most common investment alternatives for retirement, with a brief explanation of their advantages and disadvantages.

Pension plans

Pension plans are almost the default instrument for saving for retirement. Through them, we can make periodic or sporadic contributions to a plan that will invest for us in low-risk assets (a pension fund). The main advantage of pension plans is that they are tax deductible in the IRPF: we can deduct up to a maximum of 1,500 euros per year in individual plans and up to 8,500 euros in employment plans.

The main disadvantage is that we cannot redeem the plan whenever we want. There are cases determined by law (serious illness, disability…) but, in general, we must have the money invested for at least 10 years. Also, we must be careful when it comes to recovering the money, since the plans are taxed as earned income. If we withdraw it all at once, we could lose half of our savings in taxes?

Investment funds

Funds are the standard way to invest for the long term. They have the advantage that there is a lot of variety to choose from depending on our risk/return preferences. In addition, unlike pension plans, investment in funds is usually liquid: we can get our money back whenever we want.

On the downside, funds can have fees and operating expenses that reduce returns. Returns are never guaranteed, but we know that index funds are the best long-term performers… and they are also the cheapest.

Real Estate

Real estate investment has always been considered a reasonably safe destination for our savings. It can generate passive income through rents and offer potential long-term value appreciation. They are a good complement to diversify our investment portfolio because of their stability and because they have low correlation with the markets.

The main disadvantage is that they are not affordable for everyone. Real estate investing typically requires acquiring properties, which requires a lot of capital and time to manage.

Alternative investments

Alternative investment encompasses such disparate things as commodities, real estate crowdfunding, cryptocurrencies, gold…). Their main advantage is that they can offer very attractive returns and increase diversification, as they tend to have little relationship – or even an inverse relationship – with the market.

Among the disadvantages, higher risk and, in some cases, lack of liquidity. In some cases, they also require expert knowledge and a higher degree of monitoring than would be required, for example, by an index fund. Although some options, such as real estate crowdfunding, offer a good mix of risk, return and ease of entry.

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