How much should I be saving for retirement? That depends; have you ever tasted cat food? Do any of your children love you? It actually depends on when you start saving. If you begin at age 25, always save 7% of your earnings. At 35, try 9%, and eat out less. At 45, aim for 12%, and cut back on vacations. If you start saving at age 55, save 25% of pay and get a second job.
What percentage of my retirement portfolio should be in equities? Do what most people do - consider your age and risk profile, and then take advice from your dumbest friends and relatives! Or, you might try subtracting your age from 110; not a bad place to start.
What financial mistakes should I avoid? Don’t spend $10 million on your wedding, and then stay married for 72 days. (Who had 72 days in the Kim Kardashian pool?) Don’t buy any financial products that you do not understand. Avoid borrowing money from your 401(k) if possible. Do not cash-in your 401(k) when you change jobs. Finally, don’t co-sign for anything.
How long will it take for my portfolio to double? Divide your expected rate of return into 72. For example, if you are earning 1.5%, your money will double in 48 years! Your money will double faster if you stop playing Angry Birds and start saving the proper amount, and using the proper asset allocation.
What should I do if I haven’t saved enough? Start by being nicer to your bosses; you will need them longer than you thought. You can’t downsize your house; where will your children move back into? You might consider savings a little more, spending a little less and retiring a little later. Lottery tickets will not help. Maybe you can blame the government and the banks, occupy Wall Street, and take your chances!