Worried about your retirement plans? Get on track with social media, and meet your financial objectives quickly and efficiently. Gathering information and educating yourself about retirement planning was an arduous chore before the internet and social media made it easier.
After all, who wants to read thick books filled with financial geek-speak about optimized asset allocation models, Monte Carlo distribution algorithms, and historically derived safe withdrawal rates?
You need simple answers to hard questions, and fortunately those resources are now just a mouse-click away.
With the proliferation of social media, you have access to a world of retirement planning tools that previously didn’t exist. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook, mobile apps that provide real-time updates and advice, online calculators, and a variety of educational resources are now right at your fingertips.
Use these social tools so you can take proactive steps to increase your financial knowledge, get your goals back on track, and design the retirement of your dreams. Below is a roundup of some favorite ways to incorporate social media into your retirement plans.
News and Trends
Keeping up with retirement planning trends used to be time consuming. The old-school approach was to labor over economic developments using traditional media and then interpreting how it might affect your financial security. The new alternative is to hop on Twitter for quick and easy access to finance-savvy advisers who will do the heavy lifting for you. They’re happy to tweet all day in convenient, easy-to-digest sound bites about the latest developments in retirement planning and savings tools so you can pick and choose what is relevant to your personal finances.
Getting access to this information has never been easier. Just find out if your adviser has a Twitter account or check out the companies that manage your 401(k) or IRA, stocks and other assets, and you’ll always be in the know about your portfolio. You also can follow updates from the Social Security Administration as well as access the latest news and trends from major publications like the Wall Street Journal – all from the convenience of your smartphone.
Need some background retirement planning education? This site is a 24/7 library of insightful articles with a social component as well. Since you already trust and like what Ginger has to say, it only makes sense to employ her social network as a valuable starting point for additional resources. Look at her Facebook page, follow her Twitter stream, and check out her recommended resources. You don’t need to figure it out alone when the social web is ready to help you.
And when it is time to put pencil to paper and figure how much money you need to retire these online calculators will convert a task that previously required elaborate math and forecasting skills into plug-and-play simplicity that anyone can complete.
Video and Audio Tutorials
Seeing is believing for some folks, and there’s no better place to get a visual on your retirement plans than YouTube. You’ll find video clips on everything from basic budgeting to advanced asset allocation. You can subscribe to your favorite channels to get frequent updates. And best of all, they are usually entertaining.
If you prefer listening on the go then try the free iTunes audio podcasts as sources of ongoing retirement education. Just search for topics of interest, then subscribe to regular feeds. You can build an entire library of retirement mini-courses and listen to them at your convenience.
Got a burning retirement question? There are several different sites catering to user-generated questions and answers, such as About.com, Quora, and Yahoo! Answers.
Or you can try the free mobile app from kgb Answers. Download it to your smartphone, and you can search for answers to your burning retirement questions (and just about any other kind of question you may have). For a small fee, you can text your question to kgb and they’ll research it for you, then text you back with the answer.
The IRS has made it easy to get savvy about your taxes. Download their free IRS2GO app for your iPhone or Android, and you can make a habit of keeping your taxes low in retirement. Sign up to receive year-round tips on tax planning and preparation; check on your refund status; and access the most recent IRS Twitter feeds on tax laws, IRS programs and other important tax information.
By keeping up with tax preparation throughout the year, you can avoid the harried April 15 rush, increase your tax IQ — and, ideally, increase your tax refund. Get it at the iTunes app store or Android Marketplace.
You’re in Good Company
If you’re hesitant to try social networking because you think it’s just for kids, consider this: U.S. News reports that retirees 65 and older comprise the fastest-growing group of social networking users, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
So what are you waiting for? Adults and Senior citizens are figuring out how to unlock the mountain of information and convenience stored in social media.
Get started now by tweeting, texting and posting your way to an ideal retirement — and reap the rewards of a proactive approach to retirement planning.
Todd R. Tresidder is a financial coach and publisher of FinancialMentor.com. His writing on retirement planning has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, Bankrate.com, Smart Money magazine, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, and more. He’s also the author of 5 financial books including 2 about retirement: How Much Money Do I Need To Retire and The 4% Rule and Safe Withdrawal Rates In Retirement. He lives in Reno, Nevada with his wife and 2 children.