The average American is lacking in retirement funds, and saving can be a definite challenge in today’s economy. Recent reports reflect that nearly half of Americans are distressingly unprepared for retirement and will face difficulty maintaining their standard of living in their golden years. But, with a little luck and proper planning, you can defy these statistics.
Challenges of saving for retirement
With stagnant salaries, ever-increasing taxes, and inflation over the past decade, it’s easy to see why many Americans cannot necessarily boast of having the luck of the Irish when it comes to saving for retirement. 401(k)s are not what they once were. In many cases, these have replaced pensions, leaving Americans having to work longer and without enough money for a comfortable retirement. Those lucky enough to have workplace plans may not understand them enough to fully realize their benefits. And, depending on Social Security for substantial income is no longer the safety net it was supposed to be.
Those who are saving for retirement are probably using a typical mainstream brokerage or bank to manage their plans. There are investing wizards out there who know their stuff and are able to grow your income at a steady pace, depending on how conservative (or not!) you’ve asked them to be. However, these investment managers restrict your assets to those that they sell, which usually means the traditional stock, bond, and mutual fund. These investments can certainly grow income in your plan—but the returns may not exactly be what you have in mind to build a healthy nest egg. Additionally, if the stock market takes a hit so does your retirement plan.
It helps to know your alternatives—your proverbial lucky four-leafed clovers
There are many smart, alternative ways to save for retirement at a pace you can create for yourself instead of having to rely on someone else. Self-directed retirement plans give you this control, which comes with a plethora of assets that have the potential to create the luck you are seeking. You can choose your own retirement plan as well as your own investments. You can be as ultra-conservative in your choices or as risky as you wish. The point is the plan owner is in the driver’s seat. You gain the freedom to actively participate in finding your own luck instead of waiting for luck to find you.
This allows you to diversify your assets beyond stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. You can choose to invest in real estate (single and multi-family homes, commercial real estate, improved and unimproved land, rental property, etc.), precious metals, LLCs and LLPs, and so much more.
You can choose to open a self-directed traditional or Roth IRA. If you’re a small business owner, you can self-direct SEP and SIMPLE IRAs. You can also enjoy the benefits of self-directing individual(k) plans, and even education and health savings plans.
Many self-directed retirement plan investors have found success in making their own decisions. Many have realized returns on their investments that are significantly more substantial than the average bond or mutual fund produces within the same time frame. Many have enjoyed being free of depending on the frantic pace of Wall Street stock options. And, as we stated at the beginning of this article—with a little luck and proper planning you have the potential to become one of the many.