April 22, 2009

How to accumulate enough money for retirement

Wealth for retirement, How to earn 30-year investment returns with different savings amounts and rates

ON Jan 28, we have written an article on We all need to become millionaires. That article explained that we need to have cash reserves of about RM1mil to be able to maintain our current lifestyle 20 years after retirement.

Some readers responded and would like to know more on how to accumulate enough money for their retirement.

In this article, we will look into 30-year investment returns with different savings amounts and rate of returns. Our computation is based on the assumption that we start investing at the age of 25 and intend to retire at 55.

·Based on how much rate of returns you can achieve

The table shows that if we save RM100 per month and invest the money into fixed deposits (FD), assuming the FD can provide about 3% return over the next 30 years, our investment portfolio will reach RM58,274 when we reach 55.

However, if we can generate 5%, 7% and 10% returns, our investment portfolio will achieve RM83,226, RM121,997 and RM226,049 respectively.

The EPF may be able to provide us about 5% whereas unit trust investments may be able to give us 7% to 10% returns over a very long-term period.

Assuming that we treat the 3% FD return as our risk-free rate, any extra returns above this rate will be the risk premium for the additional risk that we are prepared to face.

Therefore, we need to understand our risk tolerance level before considering any type of risky investment.

We should ask ourselves whether we are willing to accept the uncertainty of return that is inherent in those investments.

Besides, we need to understand whether we can afford to have our savings tied up for a long period before we can achieve our investment targets.

·Based on how much you save and not how much you earn

We agree that when you earn more money, you should have more money for your investments. Unfortunately, some investors are unable to save even though they earn high salaries.

From the table, we can see that if we are able to save RM500 per month in FD, assuming a 3% return per annum, our investment portfolio will reach RM291,368 when we retire at age 55, five times higher than the savings of RM100 per month.

Hence, if we can cut down on our expenses and live below our means, we should have more money to save.

We should always ask ourselves whether we want to spend money on unnecessary luxury items to keep up with the Jones or be more frugal and spend less to achieve financial freedom earlier.

The question on how to generate high returns is frequently asked by readers. Unfortunately, there is no straight-forward answer to this.

We can equip ourselves with strong financial and investing knowledge which helps us in making better investment decision that will eventually translate into better returns.

To do so, we need to be interested in the economic and business activities around us.

For those who are beginning to learn about investing, you can go to any bookstore to look for investment books that you can comprehend to build up the foundation.

Remember that there is no point in buying books written by top investment gurus in the world if you cannot understand what it is trying to tell.

Once you have built up your knowledge, you should be able to digest the financial information and do your own research in investment.

Source: TheStar

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