1 Work out your biggest savings goal.Many people working today are likely to live for three decades after they become eligible for Social Security, but few of them have a clue what that means financially.Just 42% of working-age Americans have even tried to calculate what they will need in retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
The grim reality: 60% of them have less than $25,000 saved up, excluding the value of their home, and 30% have less than $1,000. Good luck with that.
How much will you need? To replace your current income for 30 years, you would need—assuming an investment return of three percentage points above inflation—about 20 times one year’s income. Social Security aims to replace about 40% of your annual income: By that yardstick you would need to save about 12 times your annual income before you retire.
For a more precise number, use the Social Security Administration’s retirement estimator. Subtract your expected annual benefit from your current yearly pay, and multiply by 20.
2 Ramp up your investments.
Open a Roth individual retirement account, if you don’t have one already. You can invest up to $5,000 for 2012 and $5,500 for 2013 and a nonworking spouse can invest the same. If you are older than 50, add $1,000.
Then invest some money in a fund, such as the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Small Cap Dividend exchange-traded fund (DGS), specializing in smaller-company stocks in emerging markets. It shouldn’t be the whole of your portfolio, but it should be in there. This is likely to be a volatile growth investment.[More from WSJ.com: Sometimes, Enough Money Really Is Enough]
Emerging markets offer the best overall returns of any investment at the moment, according to two groups of experts who successfully predicted the last two financial crises: Research Affiliates, the investment advisory firm founded by Robert Arnott, and GMO, the fund company co-founded by Jeremy Grantham. GMO estimates that emerging markets offer an investment return over seven years of 50% plus inflation, handsomely beating any rival asset class
A disciplined saving strategy will result in reaching a successful retirement goal. When developing a globally diversified portfolio, your portfolio will include emerging markets funds as part of the strategy. Remember NO ONE can predict the future.
Please comment or call to discuss how this affects you and your retirement goals.