Do less and have more for retirement? Is there a typo mistake here? Fret not, read on! : )
A simple question for all: Do the ‘golden years’ of comfortable retirement occur by itself without any intervention or does it take wise planning to do so? If your answer is the former, please sell me this magic formula. If your answer is the latter, then the natural question is when should you start planning and investing for retirement?
John and Henry are 2 twin brothers. Let’s assume both want to save for retirement 30 years later with $1,000 a month earning 5% per annum. The difference is John started first and saved for the first 10years and thereafter stopped putting in new money and just let the invested money grow at 5% per annum till year 30. Henry, on the other hand, having procrastinated the investment for the first 10 years, citing excuses and reasons for ‘other commitments’, started his monthly investment at year 11 and continued for the next 20 years till his retirement at year 30. In short, John saved and invested only for the first 10 years, his total capital $120,000, whereas Henry commenced on year 11 and invested for 20 years, his total capital $240,000. Who do you think has a bigger absolute pool of retirement funds at the end (year 30)?
The answer: John! (Surprise, surprise..) Even though John put in $120,000 lesser in total investment and contributed for 20 years lesser! (Omg! How can this even be possible?) John has done ‘lesser’, yet gathered ‘more’ for his retirement!
What can we learn from this simple story?
1) The reason why John, the early saver, has more at the end lies in the concept of compounding interest, commonly known as the 8th wonder of the world in the finance industry. Harness the power of compounding interest by starting your investments early, however small the amount may be. Start small, start comfortable, start EARLY. You can top it up as you get your pay increments and when your financial situation betters.
2) Quit kidding yourself that you can save more as you grow older. Ask anyone in their late 30s or 40s about their financial commitments as compared to their younger days. I am sure that almost all will say that their financial commitments have gone up as they are at the ‘sandwiched’ age, saddled with the responsibilities to look after their children, their spouse and their parents. To start a disciplined investment plan then will be tougher than if you had already started 10 years ago and let the invested money grow now.
Would you rather be John or Henry? Do you want to tough it out for 10 years or slog over 20 years? The choice is yours my friend.
Insure yourself, protect others.
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The author of this article is Mr Sean Ong. He is a Certified Life Coach and a Chartered Financial Consultant with more than 14 years of experience in the finance industry. A shareholder with the one of the largest independently-owned financial advisory company in Singapore, Sean also leads a top financial advisory group and has been featured on the local TV and radio. In his efforts to contribute to the society, Sean ran 1,000km over 87 days to successfully raise more than $13,000 for a children charity in Year 2012. He also published a book called “Mend Your Socks!” where sales proceeds were donated to charity. Sean can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.