If the above cartoon characters mean anything to you or you had watched them during your childhood, you probably will be in the same life situation as me: married with kids, reminiscing the days of bachelorhood when I could be having supper with friends and watching midnight movies without worrying about diapers to change or if a child is having a cough or rashes (God forbid) or worry if they are coping fine in school… Well, time flies and life moves on. (By the way, do you know that Papa Smurf was born in the year 1465? This makes him 556 years old in year 2021.. wonder how he is coping during Covid)
Certainly as a responsible family men, we have duties to fulfill as a good husband and father and sound financial planning is one KPI for us to fulfill unless you have a capable financially-savvy wife who is allowed control into your finances (God forbid again!)
If you are in charge of finances in the family, and you wish to consider personal retirement planning at the same time, here are some very common critical mistakes you should avoid:
Late to start investing
Putting aside enough emergency funds in cash and other liquid assets is important and you will need more of these backup funds especially when you have more mouths to feed at home. But being overly conservative may prove to be your undoing for your retirement. With backup funds in place, you need to make time and money work for you through the compounding of interests. Start investing for retirement as early as possible, as much as you can without sacrificing too much of current enjoyment. A good 20% of your monthly income is a good start for retirement planning. Getting to a $1 Million dollar retirement nest at age 65 takes about $14,400 per year of investment assuming projected returns of 5% per annum, if you start off at age 35. But delaying 10 years later to start at age 45, you will need to fork out about $29,000 per year instead, more than doubled of what you needed to invest 10 years prior! With more financial commitments, it may foreseeably be more difficult at age 45 to invest more if your income has not been increasing steadily over the years. So please do yourself a favour, you can start small, but do start early.
Failing to take care of the insurance needs of the household
In the course of my work, I have often heard that buying insurance for children is “unnecessary” because the kids “will not get seriously sick so easily”. Remember the adage “Insurance is like an umbrella; It’s too late to have it when you are already drenched”. The costs of healthcare for a prolonged hospital stay due to a serious illness can reach more than $100,000. I have seen families in that situation and trust me, you do not want to be there. Not just emotionally draining, such unfortunate and unforeseen events will set you back by many years for your retirement planning when lump sums of money have to be used up here. Spend some money (preferably less than 15% of your monthly income) on protection plans for yourself and family to have a peace of mind.
Pressured to become Warren Buffett or worse, try to be better than him
On the opposite end of overly conservative investors, we find the Warren Buffett ‘wanna-be’s or even the more extreme “Game-stoppers”. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you are likely not one of them. To aim for 500% returns in 1 month, that could be the targeted returns of the Game-stoppers. Yes, all of us would like to have more money and have them very quickly. Soon enough, we buy into every fad, every crypto-coins that we overheard in the MRT and become easy targets for get-rich scams. Such gambling herd instincts do not serve well for retirement. Retirement is an event of certainty that deserves better planning and more predictable outcomes. If you are a super aggressive investor, and you cannot sleep without trying your luck in the ‘roulette’ of crypto and meme stock investing, then please limit such investment to not more than 10% of your monthly income. As for the pressure to keep up with the Game-stoppers or Mr Bitcoin next door, remember that though you need to cross the finish line of retirement, you do NOT have to cross it earlier than any others. Retirement planning is not a race against others, rather it is a race against time, your own time.
Find a professional financial consultant who is experienced, qualified and is able to give you impartial advice and provide solutions from various providers. Someone who beckons you to sign on a product application form at the first meet-up is certainly not the best choice you can make.
Stay safe my comrades, and see you at the finish line with your retirement nest all set up neatly (does’nt matter who gets there first)!
Insure yourself, protect others.
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