The vast majority of retirement advice you read is probably useful to you in some capacity. But it's often difficult to get generic advice to fit your unique situation perfectly. As a result, it's easy to make excuses and push the advice aside as "not for me".
Perhaps more importantly, we need to possess the character traits necessary to achieve financial freedom. Here are five characteristics that seem to be quite common among people who are well on their way to a comfortable retirement.
The commitment to keep at it. Retirement is the ultimate long-term goal. And it requires incredible discipline and constant reminders along the way. Sometimes you need to cut back on immediate wants to save for the future. It's tough to keep asking for a discount, and though coupon sites have made the process much easier, it still takes hours to look for deals and discounts. Every dollar saved means a retirement date that can arrive sooner, but it takes more than knowledge to save money. It takes commitment.
An interest in performance and progress. From checking on your retirement progress to taking action to earn more money, the best results are often achieved from consistent improvement. Especially with the ability to earn more, the importance of challenging the status quo is a process that should never be understated.
The willingness to change. You will need to adjust your retirement plan throughout your career. It could be an unforeseeable event or slow and steady lifestyle inflation that just creeps into your lifestyle. That's actually okay. What's important is to do something about it when you recognize the problem. It's extremely tough to downgrade your lifestyle, but having the foresight to do it could mean a much better retirement.
The eagerness to start early. Saving for retirement during your first job starts compound interest working in your favor and begins a habit that will serve you well throughout your working life. Also try negotiating for a better price and saving up for big purchases instead of taking out a credit card. The money you save can be redirected into a retirement account. A bimmer is nice, but if driving a Toyota means not worrying about your retirement, it is probably worth the tradeoff.
The desire to learn. The great part about the Internet is that there is an abundance of information that's readily available on a daily basis. Reading about behavioral finance and retirement planning could lead you to open a Roth IRA or reduce your tendency to sell when there's a panic in the stock market. The more you learn about personal finance, the more achievable your retirement goal will be.
David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.