Saving for retirement is a daunting notion. Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck so the idea of setting money aside for a retirement that’s decades away can seem near impossible or unrealistic. They keep kicking the can down the road hoping to find a solution in the future.
Right now, the vast majority of people are worried about retirement and for good reason. A recent Northwestern Mutual survey found that 78% of Americans are stressed about funding retirement. Worse still is that 21% of survey respondents had nothing saved for retirement and another 10% had less than $5,000 set aside.
We already know that you can’t rely on social security to maintain your quality of life in retirement. You have to take additional steps to save and invest for the future. One way to fund the retirement of your dreams is through real estate investments. If you plan to become a real estate investor here are a few things you need to know and consider.
There Are a Lot of Real Estate Investment Options
When we think of real estate investments the first thing that comes to mind is purchasing a home. That’s one option, but it’s far from your only option. If you don’t have the money for a down payment or prefer not to take on the responsibility of another home the investment vehicles below may be a better solution for funding retirement.
Did you inherit property or already have an investment property? With a land trust, you can assign a trustee to manage the property and still retain all rights, including the ability to sell. There are also other legal protections and benefits to using a land trust agreement, but the good only is you can amend or cancel it at any time.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are another popular investment option if you don’t want to manage the property yourself. When you invest in a REIT you’re buying shares in a corporation that owns various properties. You’ll receive money back in the form of dividends.
Purchasing raw land can pay off down the road, especially if the area around the land is developed. You can either develop the land yourself (build on it for residential or commercial leasing) or hold on to the land and sell it for a profit to someone else that plans to develop. You may even be able to subdivide a large piece of land to maximize the return. This is a great idea if you want to keep a little for yourself to build your own retirement home.
Tax lien properties offer the opportunity to make a significant amount of money. When a person doesn’t pay their property taxes the government may foreclose on the home. The home is then sold for the amount owed in taxes. However, these can be very complicated transactions and the homes aren’t always in the best shape. If you’re willing to take on a fixer in the right market you could fund your retirement with just three or four homes.
Pay for Your Retirement Home by Investing Where You Plan to Retire
One way you can invest in real estate for your retirement is to purchase an investment home where you plan to retire. There are some great cities in America to retire where you can purchase a rental property now while interest rates are still low and have someone else pay off the mortgage. Even better if the investment property generates cash flow that you can put into an IRA or other retirement investment account.
Avoid Foreign Real Estate Investments
Even if you plan to retire in Costa Rica, it’s not the best idea to invest in foreign real estate. There’s just too much risk involved. For starters, not only are the real estate laws different in other countries, there’s also the risk of foreign currency fluctuations. You’re better off sticking with U.S.-based real estate investments.
Talk to a Financial Advisor With Real Estate Experience
Real estate investment can be a complex process. Retirement planning is also a long-term process that requires making the right steps along the way. One of the best things you can do is talk to a financial advisor that has real estate experience. They can explain the pros and cons of different investment options and help you choose the right real estate investments based on your timeline and financial goals.