Saving for Retirement 101

“I have always believed there are no shortcuts to greater understanding.  You simply have to work through the basics.” – Robert Hagstrom

Someone recently asked me to put together a simple, easy to understand presentation about saving for retirement that they could share with their work colleagues to go over the basics. Since I champion simple over complex and less is more, I thought this would be easy.

In reality, there are many decisions that we have to make about saving for retirement. How much should I save? What should I invest in? What should my asset allocation look like? How much do I need in stocks?

It’s not easy to keep these decisions simple. But learning or even reviewing the basics can be very helpful, even if you’ve heard it all before. The basic pillars of saving for retirement are well known but people still have a hard time putting them to use.

Since more choices can lead to an inability to make the tough decisions, going over the basics is a great way to focus on the really important areas to plan for your retirement.

Einstein once said, “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.”  That’s my goal.

Here’s what I came up with:

*For better viewing click the View Fullscreen button on the bottom right.


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  1. PFDeals Admin commented on Aug 24

    Thanks for sharing this presentation, I think that the long term historical view of average returns and volatility for the basic asset classes is very informative. Too many people take a short term view and get on bubbles such as the housing bubble (and bust) in the last 10 years.

    • Ben commented on Aug 25

      Thanks for the comment. Since the time horizon for saving for retirement is so long it definitely makes sense to look at the long-term historical averages to get a better sense of your risk profile. Bubbles and busts are both a part of the investment cycle so investors need to prepare themselves for the ups and downs.