Ten things to do now to ensure you will have a golden retirement

It is everybody’s dream to have a golden retirement.  Days upon days filled with nothing but indulging in your hobbies, vacations and doing what you feel like doing without having to worry about deadlines, job performance and work or business objectives. 

But more often than not, you see retirees who still have to do some kind of employment just to make ends meet.  Is living well in our golden years such an impossible thing to achieve?  It certainly seems so, but it does not have to be that way.  And all that is needed is some conscientious planning and careful diligence. 

Here are ten things you must do (or start doing) as soon as possible:
1.     Save.  This is the most basic principle to have money – putting some aside for later.  It does not have to be an exorbitant sum; just enough to make sure that if it is done continuously, it will build up into a pretty impressive total. 
This can be done through a simple savings account which you do not have easy access to; it could be one without an ATM card, for instance, or one where you are not the only signatory. 
2.    Invest.  The difference between Saving and Investing is that your money grows a lot faster with the latter.  Saving your money ensures you do not touch it for any reason whatsoever but investing it means it would grow on its own at a much quicker rate.  Investing your money can be done through mutual funds, fixed deposits, gold, silver, fixed bonds or industry-centric equities such as palm oil and gas. 
Stay away from the stock market and currencies, where the risk of losing greatly exceeds the possibility of its gains. 
3.    Save or Invest regularly.  Even if you have started putting some money aside or into some investment tools, make sure you do it on a regular basis.  Dumping a chunk aside without topping up ever will only mean minimal growth, which may not make much of a difference later on. 
4.    Diversify.  Once you have invested, keep investing – in different things.  Diversifying your investments is the one thing that will save you from any kind of economic downturn. 
This is an age-old concept – never put all your eggs into one basket because if that basket were to break, you would lose everything.  It is the same with your investment tools.  If you like dabbling in gold, make sure you invest some in mutual funds and bonds, so if the gold volatility gets you, the stolidness of bonds will save you. 
5.    Keep track of your money.  Whether it is savings or investments, keep an eye on how much they are making periodically.  You do not need to check on them every month but try to do so every six months, at least.  This way, you know if what you are putting in is moving towards your intended goal or not.  It also gives you an accurate picture of whether or not that investment you are making is fulfilling its objectives.  You can then decide to either change your savings plan or investment fund. 
6.    Be prudent in your youth.  If you are have not reached your mid-thirties when reading this, be prudent NOW.  You do not have to have everything that is in trend, neither do you need to have everything the Joneses have.  It is always good practice to be content with what you have and stop coveting for what you cannot. 
7.    Spend wisely.  While the previous statement says do not spend, this one says spend wisely.  If you need a car, go ahead and buy one but make sure it is a good value for your money.  There is no point getting a beat-up second hand model if it breaks down every other month, causing you more money.  Neither is it wise to upgrade to a newer model when your current car works fine. 
8.    Have a role model.  If you know someone who is living a financially healthy retired lifestyle, find out what they did to get there.  Unless they hit the lottery, you will find that some of the methods mentioned above was done in their younger days. 
9.    Get proper advice.  Wrong advice is always bad, whether it is about your finances or your life.  If you hear of some new investment venture that guarantees fantastic returns, find out more before you put a chunk of your hard-earned money into it.  It may well turn out to be nothing but a scam. 
10.    Keep your eye on your objective.  No matter how hard it gets, stay true to your goal of having truly golden retirement years.  There will be many temptations along the way but weigh every single financial decision you make before jumping into it.