This is a guest post by John, who writes over at Mighty Bargain Hunter. John is a father of one and a card-carrying member of Generation X. If you enjoyed this post, he would just love for you to subscribe to his feed.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you know that the stock market, and the economy, are headed down quickly. The past two weeks saw $2 trillion evaporate from retirement accounts. Maybe some of that $2 trillion was yours, and you’re wondering if your retirement plans are derailed.
A while back I listed five ways that you can kill your retirement dreams:
- Count on anyone to provide for you in your old age.
- Make any assumptions about how much you need to save.
- Buy lots of stuff on credit.
- Believe that retirement is about anything except money.
- Believe that working 40 hours a week is enough.
The last point in this list is very important right now.
Unless you saw this crash coming and positioned your investments so that they benefited by the drop in the stock market, your money probably isn’t working as hard for you now as it did last year. So that means producing at work or in your business and making money to replace what’s lost. Protecting and diversifying your income streams is a priority.
There are two main areas that you can work in to protect your income streams: (a) your current job or business, and (b) a new job or business. Doing one is great, but doing both is even better.
Protecting your current job means doing what you need to do (ethically, of course!) to stay off of the “short list” for being laid off. You want to make yourself too valuable to the business to be fired. Things like coming into work early, staying late, making and achieving goals (and letting your manager in on the process), taking on new responsibility, and learning new aspects of your job are some good ways to do make yourself more valuable.
Developing a side business, though, is likely what will make the difference between just getting by and being able to retire (or not) enjoyably. This doesn’t happen by itself. It means using “leisure time” productively and profitably. It means investing in yourself and making the time to do so. It means shutting off the TV, turning on your brain, and greasing up your elbows. Money might be in short supply these days but time isn’t; cutting out two hours of TV three nights a week and working four hours on Saturday puts twelve and a half work weeks in your lap to focus on securing a future, lifelong income stream.
The market might have taken your money. Don’t stand by idly and let the economy deliver a blow to your earning power.
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.