It is not uncommon for many Americans to receive, during their lifetime, something that could be called an inheritance. While it might not be the millions of dollars that we have always hoped for from our unknown or little - known uncle that we always thought was rich, even a small inheritance can be the valuable starting point for retirement savings, if it is used wisely. It’s far too easy for most of us – when we receive a $2,000, $5,000 or even a $20,000 windfall – to see it as an opportunity to - buy a car or household items that have been on our “want” list for too long.
However, most people who reach retirement and do not have retirement funds can’t say they never earned enough money to create a retirement fund. The difference between the retirees who do and those who do not have even a moderate retirement fund is that those ‘who do’ simply took advantage of opportunities that the others passed up. A small inheritance could be that starting point for many.
Many elderly who do have retirement funds started with small savings accounts or even a small inheritance and saved and invested until the funds developed into a moderate retirement account. Such investments, however, need particular attention if the funds are to grow over the years:
Goals: You need to start out with a clear idea of what your goals are. Saving for retirement is no different than saving for a new television or sofa. Establish a realistic goal and move towards it.
Amount to Invest: The amount of funds that you have initially or that you will set aside monthly determines what are your best investment options. It’s more realistic for example; if you can only set aside $50 or $100 a month to consider some type of conservative savings account until the funds grows.
Rate of Return: Generally, the rate of return is directly tied to the risk of an investment. Be aware that short term rates are much lower than long term rates. Risk and Rate of Return play an important role in choosing the right investment. So invest wisely.
Accessibility: Depending on your financial situation and the possibility of an ‘emergency,’ determines what penalties you should accept for liquidating the investment. Generally, the longer the investment period - the higher the penalty and the higher the investment return.
Taxes: In many cases, income taxes can significantly reduce your net investment returns – in most cases tax deferred is better than taxable. And, tax free can even be better.
Remember, it’s your money, invest wisely. Your retirement will definitely depend on it.