Founder of American Teaches Retirement Services, Chris Zaal Offers These Five Sage Retirement Insights
Retirement can be intimidating for many people. Leaving your career behind is a big change and many struggle to adjust. Further, financial security is extremely important in your later years and if you don’t plan properly, you may not enjoy the retirement of your dreams. Chris Zaal, the founder of American Teachers Retirement Services, has helped countless teachers and others plan for retirement. Now, he is going to provide five vital retirement tips.
“Perhaps the biggest single bit of advice I can offer to anyone planning for retirement is to start early,” Chris Zaal says. “Interest rates, specially compounding interest, make a huge difference with retirement and time is extremely important for growing your wealth.”
Let’s you invest $25,000 and earn 7% per year, with compound interest accruing annually. In ten years, that $25,000 investment will grow to $49,178.78. Stretch the time out to 30 years, however, and your investment will be worth over $190,000.
It’s also important to understand how company retirement policies work and to read the fine print. Chris Zaal advises his clients to read through company policies carefully and to figure out how to maximize contributions and other benefits.
“401K plans are quite popular with companies,” Chris Zaal notes. “Many companies will match investments up to a certain amount. If your employer offers matching investments, you should max how much you get per year. It might only seem like a few thousand dollars right now, but it’ll make a huge difference.”
It’s also wise to engage in self-education so you can improve your investing acumen. Chris Zaal notes that key insights now could make a huge difference decades from now.
“Understanding how investment markets work, taxes, different retirement accounts, whatever, the more you know, the better off you’ll be,” Chris Zaal says.
Still, understanding finance is hard and Chris Zaal advises anyone who’s struggling to reach out to retirement and investment experts.
Location, location, location. This saying is often tossed around in the business world, but it’s just as important for retirees as well. Chris Zaal advises retirees to consider what state they want to live in and to take stock of the financial benefits of any given state.
“People think Florida is a popular retirement hotspot because of the weather,” Chris Zaal says, “that’s part of it but far from the whole truth. Florida is friendly for retirees from a tax point of view as well.”
Florida, along with Alaska, Texas, Washington, and a few other states, does not tax individual income. As such, retirees won’t have to pay state taxes on Social Security and various other income streams. Keep in mind, however, that tax codes are complex and while you may not have to pay individual income taxes, you may end up paying higher taxes elsewhere, such as on your property.