Of course planning for your retirement is something you think about.
But what steps have you taken to be sure you’ll have an adequate nest egg in your golden years?
Read on for some simple tips on planning for your retirement years. The sooner you get started the better!
Know Your Retirement Needs
Retirement is expensive. Experts estimate that you’ll need about 70 percent of your preretirement income in order to maintain your standard of living when you stop working. Take charge of your financial future.
Find Out About Your Social Security Benefits
Social Security pays the average retiree about 40 percent of preretirement earnings. Call the Social Security Administration at 1.800.772.1213 for a free Social Security Statement and find out more about your benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Learn About Your Employer’s Pension or Profit Sharing Plan
If your employer offers a plan, check to see what your benefit is worth. Most employers will provide an individual benefit statement if you request one. Before you change jobs, find out what will happen to your pension. Learn what benefits you may have from previous employment. Find out if you will be entitled to benefits from your spouse’s plan.
Top Tips to Prepare For Retirement
- Contribute To a Tax-Sheltered Savings Plan – If your employer offers a tax-sheltered savings plan, such as a 401(k), sign up and contribute all you can. Your taxes will be lower, your company may kick in more, and automatic deductions make it easy. Over time, compound interest and tax deferrals make a big difference in the amount you will accumulate.
- Ask Your Employer to Start A Plan – If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan, suggest that it start one. Simplified plans can be set up by certain employers. For information on simplified employment pensions, order Internal Revenue Service Publication 590 by calling 1.800.829.3676. Or you can view a copy on the IRS Web site.
- Put Your Money into an Individual Retirement Account – The Advantages of Starting Early-Start now! This chart shows what you would accumulate after 5, 15, 25, and 35 years if you saved $3,000 each year and your money earned 7% annually. You can put up to $4,000 a year into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and gain tax advantages. When you open an IRA, you have two options – a traditional IRA or the newer Roth IRA. The tax treatment of your contributions and withdrawals will depend on which option you select. Also, you should know that the after-tax value of your withdrawal will depend on inflation and the type of IRA you choose.
- Don’t Touch Your Savings – Don’t dip into your retirement savings. You’ll lose principal and interest, and you may lose tax benefits. If you change jobs, roll over your savings directly into an IRA or your new employer’s retirement plan.
- Start Now, Set Goals, and Stick To Them – Start early. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Put time on your side. Make retirement savings a high priority. Devise a plan, stick to it, and set goals for yourself. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to start saving. So start now, whatever your age!
- Consider Basic Investment Principles – How you save can be as important as how much you save. Inflation and the type of investments you make play important roles in how much you’ll have saved at retirement. Know how your pension or savings plan is invested. Financial security and knowledge go hand in hand.
- Ask Questions – These tips point you in the right direction. But you’ll need more information. Talk to your employer, your bank, your union, or a financial advisor. Ask questions and make sure the answers make sense to you. Get practical advice and act now.
- Allow Plenty of Time and Be Persistent – Financial security doesn’t just happen. It takes planning and commitment and, yes, money.
Retirement Planning Facts
- Today, only 42 percent of Americans have calculated how much they need to save for retirement.
- In 2005, of those who had 401(k) coverage available, 25 percent didn’t participate.
- The average American spends 18 years in retirement.
Putting money away for retirement is a habit we can all live with. Remember that saving matters!