Anyone who's been around for longer than a couple of decades knows that stocks can lose a lot of value quickly. These periods, when stock prices are falling, can be classified into two types of declines: corrections, and bear markets. Understanding the difference between these is critical, because the former represent minor speed bumps on the way to higher prices, while the latter can wreck your entire portfolio and set you back years from reaching your retirement goals.
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As you begin to set aside money for retirement, one of the first and most critical decisions you'll face is what type of account to put that money in. Should you contribute to your 401(k) first? Or is paying down debt a better idea? What about an IRA or a 529 plan? Should you be contributing to those as well? And what do mason jars and your mattress have to do with any of this? These are the types of questions we'll attempt to answer as we explore the most effective way to save for retirement.
Have you ever wanted to be a business owner? Well, congrats ... you already are. The minute you have even a few thousand dollars to your name, you're officially a professional money manager running your own investment firm. Of course, you probably don't see it that way, but that's because you haven't been enlightened yet. No one has ever spelled it out for you before. Well ... it's time to fix that.
When you begin to save for retirement, the easiest way to get started is to enroll in your employer-sponsored retirement plan (401(k), 403(b), TSP, etc.). The next step (or the first step, for those who don't have access to an employer-sponsored plan) is generally to open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). These types of accounts provide great tax advantages, and come in two types: "Roth" and "Traditional."
If you're going to sail into retirement with a nice fat portfolio and big sacks of money strewn across your deck, then you're going to have to deal with some ups and downs along the way. Financial markets are volatile by nature, and how you respond to these critical, anxiety-inducing periods can make the difference between a meager retirement, and a life of luxury.