How to Plan for Your Retirement Are you ready to start planning for your retirement? Whether you are 30 years old or 55 years old, there are a number of important steps that you will want to take. For your convenience, a few of those steps are highlighted below. The first step in planning your retirement is examining your future. There are a number of important questions that you will want to ask yourself. Where do you want to live when you retire? How do you want to live? What do you want to be doing? Knowing your retirement needs and wants is important when looking to create a retirement savings plan. Even if you are only 20 or 30 years old, you can still plan for your retirement. A few small changes to your dream plan won't be the end of the world. At least you have a starting point to build on. As previously stated, knowing what you want and need to get out of your retirement is important to creating a savings plan. Why? Because it can help you determine how much money you need to have saved. Having a set goal to reach is one of the best ways to accurate and successfully save and prepare for your retirement. Next, are you employed? If so, examine your company's retirement plans, such as their 401(k) programs. How much have you been contributing to your 401(k) account? If nothing, you will want to start. Why? Because it is easy to do so. Inquire to see if you can have your paycheck set up so that a small amount of money will automatically be deposited into your 401(k) account. As an important note, 401(k) accounts are advised, as they are considered tax sheltered. This is because your taxes are much lower when you contribute money into your 401(k). Also, see if your employer contributes money as well. There are some companies throughout the United States that will match the amounts contributed by their employees, which is you. What is better than free money for your retirement? In addition to a 401(k), also examine IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts). In addition to 401(k) and Individual Retirement Accounts, you do have other options. If this process seems overwhelming for you, you should seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with doing so. In fact, seeking professional advice can help prevent you from making many common mistakes. When looking for help, it is a wise idea to speak to a professional accountant or a financial advisor. Even though you have made the decision to save for retirement now, there may come a point in time when you find yourself on a fixed income. It is no secret that living day-to-day on a fixed income can be stressful, overwhelming, and fearful. With that said, it is still important to keep on saving for your retirement. Any money that you can put into a 401(k) account or an IRA, do so. A few dollars here and there can easily add up. In keeping with hitting a rough patch in your finances, if you are not use to living on a fixed income, you may want to take steps to improve your financial standing. This is a good plan to have, but stay away from your retirement savings. Whether you have spent the last year or ten years saving for retirement, try to leave that money alone. Dipping into your retirement savings can have negative consequences. If you are required to pay the money back, you may have to pay interest or taxes. Even if you don't have to pay the money back, it is still less that you will have for your retirement years. Unless you are in a truly serious, life or death situation, leave your retirement savings alone. As you can see, saving for retirement isn't really that hard. Unfortunately, many news organizations and other similar websites make it seem harder than it really is. As an important reminder, if you need financial planning help, seek it. The Best Ways to Save for Retirement Are you looking for information on the best ways to save for retirement? If you are, you have come to the right place. Please continue reading on. Establish a Moneysaving Goal If you want to save money for retirement, it is first important to determine how much money you need to save. This is the most important step to take, when looking to save for retirement. While you can always save money for retirement without having a goal in mind, will you have enough? You will never know unless you take the time to do the research first. When determining how much you need to comfortably retire, examine your wants and needs. Account for living expenses, such as housing, utilities, food, transportation, healthcare and other related expenses. Next, what are your retirement goals? What type of home would you like to live in? Where you would like to live? What activities do you want to enjoy? Calculate the average cost of these. That total figure is your retirement savings goal. As an important reminder, do not stop saving even if you reach that goal early on. Create a Budget for Yourself Creating a budget is another easy way to save money for retirement. Why? Because it can help you determine where you can save money. Many Americans waste money and a considerable amount of it. To prevent yourself from doing so, create a budget. This budget should include expenses that you must pay; ones that you cannot live without. For example, your rent or mortgage payment and all utility bills, transportation costs, and food should be included in your budget. Once your needed expenses are totaled, subtract that amount from your monthly income. The difference is money that you can and should put into a retirement savings account. Eliminate Unnecessary Purchases In keeping with creating a budget, be sure to eliminate unnecessary purchases. If you work outside of the home, do you bring your lunch to work or make your coffee at home? If not, you should start doing so. If you are 35 years old, you may be surprised with how much money you can save over the next ten or twenty years by taking this simple approach. In addition to completely eliminating unnecessary purchases, consider reducing those that you do not want to give up. For example, do you like to eat out? Instead of eating out once a week, aim for once a month. Also, examine the packages for your phone, cable, and internet. Can you reduce their costs without having to give them up completely? If so, do so. Contribute to Your 401(k) Do you have a 401(k) plan through your employer? If so, do you currently contribute to it? If not, now is the time to start, even if you are only twenty years old. Those between the ages of twenty and forty are encouraged to contribute around 5% to 10% of their income. Those forty to sixty years old are encouraged to contribute as much as possible. What is nice about 401(k) plans is that most employers maximize your contributions. For instance, if you were to meet your company's minimum personal contribution for the year, they may match that money for you! Yes, you do still have to deposit your own money, but the money that your employer contributes can be considered free money. Seek Professional Help While you can find a number of helpful retirement planning resources online, this information can sometimes be difficult to read. Sometimes, it seems as if financial experts are talking in a different language. If you are not familiar with 401(k) plans, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), social security benefits, and pension plans, you should schedule a meeting with a professional financial advisor. Not only can they help you understand these great retirement programs and accounts, they can also help you develop a sold retirement savings plan. This can help to ensure that you successfully meet your goal. Forced Into Retirement? What You Should Do Did you love your job? If so, you may have been happy with your life. That is until your supervisors explained that your company was cutting costs. Due to those cost cutting measures, you are being forced into early retirement. If you are like many other individuals in your shoes, panic may be the first feeling that sets it. Yes, being forced into early retirement may seem like "the end of the world," but it doesn't have to be. When being forced into early retirement, you will be required to sign a number of important documents. Never agree to retirement without first learning about your company's rules, restrictions, and attached strings. Will you receive a severance package? Does that severance package eliminate your pension or eliminate you from receiving any other important employee benefits? If so, talk to a financial advisor right away, particularly before you sign anything. Determine what your best course of action is. Is it better to take the severance pay or receive all of your benefits? Speaking of talking to a financial advisor, you should take this step anyways. Early retirement can throw a wrench into your plans. You may need professional assistance to get those plans fixed and back on track. A financial advisor can examine your retirement wants and needs, determining an estimated figure that you need to comfortably retire. Next, a financial advisor can help you come up with a plan of action to get those needed funds. In the event that you opt for a severance package, do not spend that money right away. Unfortunately, many forced into retirement make this mistake. If you are living day-to-day, use your money to pay for your necessities, such as food and shelter, but nothing else. If you have "extra," money, deposit it into a savings account or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Doing so may increase your money, based on interest rates and tax benefits. It is also important to remember that social security benefits come with rules and restrictions. Just because you are forced to retire early, it doesn't meant that you qualify to receive social security yet. That is why you are encouraged to take action and right away. Should you qualify for early social security benefits, due to your age, know that the amount you receive overtime may be smaller than what you intended to live on. Most importantly, remember that being forced into early retirement doesn't necessarily mean that you have to stop working. If you are asked to retire a few years earlier than planned, you may be unable to do so financially. Will your money run out too soon? If so, working may be your only option. Before leaving your current job and accepting your company's early retirement package, examine your health insurance. Regardless of your age, you should never be left without health insurance. Depending on your age and your financial standing, you may qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. However, do not leave your job without knowing. COBRA will leave you protected for 18 months, but you should have another plan. If you start working again, you may be able to get health insurance coverage through your new employer after 90 days. If you haven't been forced into retirement, it is an event that you should still plan for. Many companies are finding themselves losing money. For that reason, they are offering early retirement packages to many of their long-term workers, particularly those that are close to the retirement age. With that in mind, just because you are close to the retirement age, it doesn't mean that you are ready for it. Even if you are only twenty or thirty years old, please know there is a chance you could be forced into early retirement down the road. That is why it is imperative that you start saving for retirement now, as you never know what the future holds. Tips for Helping Your Parents Plan for Retirement Are you concerned with your parents and their future? If you are, you should talk to your parents about their retirement plans. In fact, the sooner, the better. Doing so can give you, as a loved one, comfort and peace of mind. You should start discussing retirement with your parents when they reach the age of fifty; however, you can start the conversation sooner if you wish. When talking to your parents about retirement, determine what their retirement wants and needs are. Where do they want to live? What type of property or establishment do they want to live in? What activities or hobbies would they like to enjoy? It is important to know how your parents want to live in their retirement years, as it will have an impact on how much they need to save. Next, it is important to determine how much your parents currently have saved for retirement. Is it enough? Do they even know? If you are concerned with asking your parents, take the above mentioned approach first. Asking your parents about their retirement goals can ease you into the conversation about costs and savings. Asking your parents outright how much money they have saved for retirement may cause tensions to erupt. When discussing their retirement with your parents, make sure your parents know that they cannot live on just their social security benefits. You may be surprised how many retirees plan to do so. Once again, be sure to take a cautious approach. You want to lookout for the best interests of your parents, but don't treat them like a child who knows nothing on the subject. Returning back to social security benefits, tell your parents you read online that most retirees only receive about 40% of their living expenses through social security benefits. In keeping with social security benefits, you should encourage your parents to request a statement of their benefits. This is easy to do online or over-the-phone. This statement can give them an estimate of how much they will receive in social security benefits. This is a good wakeup call for those who believe social security will cover their retirement expenses. Be sure to remind your parents that their statement is just an estimated total. You will also want to examine your parent's profession. This is important, as the economy is having a negative impact on many businesses. Some older workers are finding themselves forced into early retirement. Is your father or mother in the auto industry or another industry that is taking a hit? If so, there is a chance they could be forced to retire early, if it hasn't already happened. In the event of forced, early retirement, do your parents have a plan? Also, discuss healthcare with your family. If your parents were to move into a retirement community examine the costs. Then, examine the costs of long-term care. When your parents live together, they are able to save money, but what happens when one gets sick? Can your parents afford two separate living arrangements? Make sure the cost of long-term care is realistically entered into their retirement plan. Speaking to your parents about retirement is a step in the right direction, but they can still benefit from professional help. If you feel that your parents are unprepared for retirement, offer to schedule and pay for a meeting with a financial advisor. Retirement Checklist: Are You Prepared? Are you looking to retire within the next two to three years? If so, it is imperative that you are prepared to make the leap. Retirement can be a fun and exciting time in your life, but only if you are fully prepared for it. To make sure that you are, please continue reading on. Before retiring from your job, make sure that you and your spouse are properly covered by health insurance. Not taking this step can be costly and it can have a negative impact on your retirement savings. Most senior citizens are able to qualify for Medicare. Do you? If so, complete your paperwork and signup right away. You do not want to create any lapses in coverage. If you do not qualify for Medicare yet, be sure to examine other avenues of coverage. Can you purchase affordable health insurance or can you extend your current health insurance plan with COBRA? Before retiring from your job, make sure that both you and your spouse are covered with the right amount of life insurance. Do you have a private life insurance policy? If not, now is the time to get one. Some employers terminate an employee's life insurance policy if it was provided and paid for by the company. As your age increases, life insurance is a must, so make sure that you are covered. If you have been contributing to your company's 401(k) plan and an IRA, you need to decide when to start withdrawing this money, as well as how you want to do so. Do you want to receive one large, lump sum payment? If you are unsure, it may be best to first consult with a financial advisor. In fact, when doing so, be sure to ask about all rules and restrictions. If you withdrawal your money from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) before the written guidelines, you may be charged a penalty. Over the past few years, you likely developed a clear vision of what your years in retirement would look like. Where do you want to live? What type of property do you want to live in? What activities do you want to enjoy? Do you want to start your own small business? Your retirement savings are likely based on your retirement wants and needs. Now is the time to make any last minute changes, as you still have a couple of years to save additional money. Do you foresee yourself making a large purchase in the near future? These purchases can include a new home or a car. If so, now is the time to make them, especially if you will depend on financing from a professional lender. Some lenders will give loans to those in retirement, but some are also cautious of doing so, due to fixed income living. That is why you are encouraged to make all large purchases before you enter into retirement. The above mentioned points are just a few of the many that you will want to examine and take action when needed. As a reminder, if you plan to retire in two or three years, you still have time to save for retirement. Contribute any amount that you can to your 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA). When it comes to retiring, there is no such thing as having too much money. Why Saving For Retirement Is Important Whether you are 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60 years of age, are you planning for retirement? If not, you should be. Unfortunately, many individuals do not understand the importance of planning for retirement. If you are one of those individuals, please continue reading on for information that will likely change your outlook on planning and preparing for your retirement. The greatest reason why you should save for retirement is because it is your life. The amount of money that you save for retirement will have a profound impact on how your life is lived. Do you have any dreams or goals? Typically, retirement is the best time to meet your goals and transform your dreams into reality, but you can only do so if you are financially prepared. If you are not, you may be worried about where you will live or where your next meal will come from, as opposed to wondering when the best time to take a vacation is. Another important reason why you should start saving for retirement and early is for your children. Even if you are twenty years old and single, remember that there may come a point in your life when you have a family. Those who do not properly plan and save for retirement put a huge burden on their families. As a parent, it is your job to protect your children, not cause them to face their own financial difficulties because they must pay for your retirement expenses. Saving for retirement can also help to ensure that you are well cared for. This is important in terms of health. There comes a point in everyone's life when his or her health starts to worsen with age. While you may be able to live on your own and care for yourself when you first enter into retirement, there may come a point in time when you can no longer do so. If and when that time comes, are you financially prepared? Can you afford the cost of long-term care? The cost of long-term can be expensive and it should be included in the cost of your retirement; therefore, you should start saving now. Another one of the many reasons why you will want to start saving for your retirement is because you won't want to keep on working. Those who are unprepared for retirement often keep on working or later return to the workforce. Is this really something that you want to do? Also, remember your age and your health. It is highly unlikely that you will be ale to work until you die. That is why you should start saving for retirement, as you cannot generate income for yourself forever. Finally, social security benefits are nice, but they will not cover all of your retirement living expenses. Many financial advisors state you will need around 70% of your current income to live comfortably in retirement. Unfortunately, most individuals only receive about 40% of that from social security benefits. Depending on how much you contributed through the payment of taxes, that amount may be lower. Since you cannot rely on social security benefits to survive, you need to start saving for retirement. As highlighted above, there are a number of reasons why you should save for retirement. Your life is in your own hands, so start saving today. Tips for Saving for Retirement Are you concerned with retirement? If you aren't, you should be. Of course, retirement is nothing that you have to be worried or fearful about, but now is the time for you to start planning. In all honesty, it doesn't matter whether you are 25 years old or 55 years old. It is never too soon to start planning for your retirement years. The first step in saving for retirement is to determine how much money you need to save. When doing so, be sure to keep inflation costs in mind. The cost of goods will likely increase overtime as you age. Calculators online or a talk with a financial advisor can give you an estimated inflation rate to work with. In keeping with estimating your retirement money needs, look at your wants and needs. As for needs, you will need shelter with the appropriate utilities, food to eat, transportation, and money for your healthcare. These are items that you cannot live without. Next, examine your wants. Where do you want to live in retirement? What do you want to be doing in retirement; boating, camping, traveling? To have the golden years of your dreams, make sure that you have enough money to do so. You will also need to plan for the unexpected. Often times, the unexpected is considered a medical emergency or a death, but in this case it can be living longer than expected. Many seniors are living longer than expected. Unfortunately, many seniors are also running out of money because of this. Do not let yourself be one of those individuals. Now is also the time to start paying off any money you owe. The earlier you are able to pay off your debts, the better your finances will be. You and your family won't have to worry about your unpaid bills coming back to haunt you later on. You can also save money by paying off your debts. Credit card fees and other similar late fees can add up, taking valuable money away from your golden years. Once your debt has been paid off, take the same amount of money you were putting towards your debt into a retirement account. As it was previously stated, you may want to seek professional help. This help can come from an accountant or a financial advisor. These professionals can help you create a solid retirement savings plan. For example, they can help you curb your spending, develop a savings goal, as well as help you allocate your funds into the correct accounts. If you are employed, you should have a 401(k) program through your employer. Do you contribute to this account? If not, now is the time to start doing so. Any bit of money that you can deposit into your 401(k) is a good idea, as it can later help. It is also important to familiarize yourself with your company's policy. Some business in the United States will deposit additional money into the accounts of their employees. For example, some will match your personal 401(k) contributions. While certain rules and restrictions may apply, this is a great way to get free money for your golden years. Another way that you can go about preparing and saving for retirement is by living on a fixed income. Even if you are only 30 years old and in good financial standing, there are a number of benefits to creating a fixed income budget. This can save money, as a fixed income often calls for the elimination of unnecessary purchases. Once you hit the age of 50, you are encouraged to revert to a fixed income. Not only can you continue to save money for your retirement, you can also practice. Most retirees live on fixed incomes. If you aren't prepared to do so, you may end up with nothing left. The above mentioned steps are just a few of the many that you can take to start preparing for and saving for your golden retirement years. As a reminder, the earlier you get started, the more money you should save. Saving for Retirement at 20 Are you around twenty years of age? If you are, retirement may be the last thing on your mind. With that said, it should be at least towards the forefront. Why? Because the amount of money that you are able to save throughout your lifetime can have a significant impact on your future, the amount of money you have, and how you live until you die. Do you really want to be homeless or living with family when you should be able to support yourself? One mistake that many men and women make around the age of twenty is assuming that they have more time to save for retirement. Yes, you do. You have into your 30s, 40s, 50s, and possibly even into a part of your 60s. With that said, there are no guarantees that you will be able to save money in that time frame. You have a job now, but will you five or ten years from now? There are two many what ifs that could result in you not having enough money to retire. That is why you are urged to start saving for retirement now, when you know you can. Okay, you now know that you should start saving for retirement now, even if you are only 21 or 28 years old. You may, however, be wondering what steps you should take. First, you need to meet with human resource workers from your workplace. These individuals are knowledgeable on retirement plans that are operated by or through your company. One of those being the 401(k) program. Your company may also have a pension program that you can participate in as well. When meeting with a company representative to inquire about retirement savings through your company, ask about matching. Most companies will match contributions made by their employees. There may, however, be some rules and restrictions concerning this match. For instance, you may have to contribute a specific dollar amount or percentage of your income. Speaking of which, most financial advisors recommend that those in their 20s put around 5% to 7% of their yearly income into a 401(k). In addition to 401(k)s, those in their twenties are also encouraged to look into Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Although you will find some disputes online, many financial advisors suggest that Roth IRAs are best for those who are young in age. The only downside to Roth IRAs is that they money is not tax free when you deposit it into your account. It is, however, tax free when you retire, as long as you followed all rules and guidelines, such as not borrowing from your account early. Another great way for you and others in their twenties to save money for retirement is to look at your spending habits. Most twenty year olds are known for their not so careful spending. Do you have extra money each week that you blow on new clothes or snacks that you don't really need? If you do, consider depositing that money into a savings account. Even if you only deposit $5 into your account a week, the money can significantly add up overtime. In fact, why not use a calculator to determine how much that $5 a week can turn into overtime. Don't forget that you can benefit from interest rates. Saving for retirement early is a great way to make sure that you are set for life. The earlier that you start saving money, the more money you are likely to have in the end. With that said, there are risks. Due to young age, more individuals like you are likely to tap into their retirement savings. This is can be a risky and costly move. Remember that your retirement is important and that money shouldn't be used for a new expensive outfit or a trip overseas, especially one that you do not need to survive. Aside from depositing money into your accounts, it is best to just forget about them. Saving for Retirement at 30 Are you in your thirties? If you are, retirement may be something that you occasionally think about. If not, now is the time to start. While there are a number of benefits to saving for your retirement years when you are in your twenties, it is imperative that you start in your thirties. If not, you may find yourself with little or no money to retire with. One of the easiest ways to set aside money for your retirement years is by saving money. Take any bit of money that you are able to save, by eliminating unnecessary purchases, and put it away. To save the most money, examine your spending habits. Buying an expensive pair of jeans is a nice pick-me-up when you were twenty, but now is the time to start worrying about your future. Remember, apply any money saved to your retirement future. As for what you should do with your saved money, you do have a number of different options. One of the easiest approaches to take is to open a savings account. Often times, all you need is $50 to do so and your account should be fee-free, as long as you maintain the minimum monthly balance. As easy as it is to open a savings account, only do so if you are good with money. You will want deposit money into your savings account and forget all about it. If you have a passbook, hide it. Ignoring your savings account, aside from putting money into it, is the best way to leave it untouched. Unfortunately, with a savings account, it is much easier to get a hold of your money and you can do so without any immediate consequences. As nice as savings account is, there are many other profitable and convenient approaches for you to take. These include a 401(k) plan. If you are employed and full-time, you should be able to contribute to your 401(k) plan. Have you already been doing so? If not, it is recommended that you start. Those in their twenties are encouraged to deposit at least 5% of their income into a 401(k). The same percentage is recommended for those in their thirties, as long as contributions were previously made. If this is the first year that you will continue to your 401(k), 7% to 10% is recommended. 401(k)s are nice because they offer tax savings and many employers will match contributions. As previously stated, now is the time for you to start saving money. Eliminating unnecessary purchases and carefully tracking your spending is a great to reduce your living expenses and save additional money for retirement. Before you put all of that money into a savings account, 401(k), or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), examine your debt. Do you have any? Retirement and debt do not mix, so take steps to rid yourself of debt and start doing so now. The best step to take is to reduce your expenses, which was outlined below, and split the money saved between a retirement savings account and your unpaid debt. Now is also about the time that you should start thinking about what you want your retirement to be like. Many people think this is a step that is too early for someone in their thirties to take, but there is no harm in planning ahead. Where do you see yourself when you retire? What kind of home would you like to live in? Do you intend to travel? What activities do you want to enjoy? These questions can help you determine how much money you need to retire. Of course, you can still continue to save money for retirement even if you don't know the answers to these questions, but a goal can help make sure you are able to retire comfortably and with ease. The above mentioned steps are just a few of the many that you, a person around the age of thirty, can take to prepare for retirement. They are, however, the easiest steps to take. Saving for Retirement at 40 Are you in your forties? If you are, retirement may be something that you occasionally think about. After all, you have been in the workforce long enough to wish you could get out of it. With the right retirement plan, you may be able to do so a little bit sooner than originally planned. Of course, retiring a year or two early sounds nice, but it isn't as easy as you may have thought. The good news is that you are at the right time in your life. The amount of money that you are able to save and put towards retirement in your forties can have a significant impact on when you are able to retire. If you have been putting aside a little bit of money in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or if you have been contributing to your 401(k), there is a good chance that you sat down and set retirement goals for yourself. This may include where you want to live and what activities you want to enjoy. Since your goals may have since changed, they should be reexamined. This is important in the event of a cost increase. If the costs of your retirement goals have increased, you need to work on saving more money. It is also important to look at your spending. If you are a parent, now may be the time when your children are getting ready for college. Are you footing the college bills? If you wish to do so, first make sure that you can. As important as it is for your children to get an education, do not go into debt and do not dip into you retirement savings to pay for that education. Instead, examine other avenues of financing, which may include student loans for your children, scholarships, and grants. If you have any debt, now is the time to get it paid off. Request a copy of your credit report. If any bills are marked as unpaid, work on getting them paid off. You cannot comfortably and securely retire if you are suffering from debt. The average consumer debt can be quite high. If yours is high, you may need to spend five to ten years paying it. That is why you should start now. As it was previously stated, most individuals start contributing to their 401(k) plans or open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) in their late twenties or thirties. If this is a step that you have yet to take, do so. The sooner, the better. On average, experts recommend contributing at least 5% of your income to be put in a 401(k) or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). With that said, if you are just getting started now, at least 10% of your income should be contributed. Now is also the time to look at how retirement works. For example, most financial advisors state you will need at least 70% of your income to comfortably retire. Do you have this money? Can you reasonably come up with it? If not, now is the time to take further action. You do not want to rely on social security payments, as they are only able to provide most retirees with an average of 40% of needed income. To make is so that you are able to relax and enjoy life in retirement, as opposed to working through it, it is a wise idea to start cutting corners now. Are there any unnecessary purchases that you can eliminate to help you save money? Can you reduce the packages for your television, internet, or cable? Are there ways for you to reduce your car insurance payments? If so, do so. Any money that you save can be put into a checking account or deposited into your IRA. The above mentioned steps are just a few of the many that you, a person around the age of forty, can take to prepare for retirement. Remember, each year that passes by is one less year for you to save money for your retirement. Don't be left out in the cold or be unable to enjoy your favorite activities later on in life because you didn't start planning for retirement when you should of. Saving for Retirement at 50 Are you fifty years of age? If so, are you prepared for retirement? For many, retirement is just around the corner, about at the age of sixty. While some individuals will find themselves in good financial standing, many more see just how unprepared for retirement they are. If you are unprepared for retirement, there is good news. That good news is that it isn't too late to start saving. If you just turned fifty, you likely have a little bit more than ten years to save. While it won't be as easy as it was when you were twenty, thirty, or forty, it is still possible. The first step in planning for retirement at the age of fifty is determining how much money you need to save. On average, financial experts state that most individuals need at least 70% of their current income to financially survive through retirement. A small percentage of that, around 30% to 40%, may come from social security benefits. It is also stated that you should prepare to spend thirty years in retirement. If you have been contributing to a 401(k) plan at work, you are a step ahead. You likely have a few thousand dollars or more saved. You will want to keep on contributing. Be sure to meet the requirements that your company has for matching. When you do so, your company will match the contributions that you made. This money can go a long away, especially if you are finding yourself unprepared for retirement. If you are employed, it is also important to examine pension plans. Pension plans are advised for long-term employees. Now is the best time to get one, as you are less likely to leave your job. There are some companies that have rules and restrictions, such as you lose you pension if you switch jobs. It is also important to examine Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Do you already have one? If not, now is the time to start. IRAs give you numerous tax benefits and they are a much better approach than traditional savings accounts. Why? Because many individuals find it easier to dip into their savings accounts and spend their money. Whether you use that money for yourself or give it to family members, it reduces the amount of money that you have for retirement. It is also important to note that the rules for IRAs are less strict when you reach the age of fifty, as you are able to deposit more money into your account. As previously stated, most individuals will receive social security benefits that account for about 30 to 40% of income needed during retirement. This is, however, just an average figure. You can request a statement that outlines your benefits. This statement can give you an idea of how much in social security benefits you will receive overtime. With that said, this is also just an estimate; therefore, it is not a figure that you should rely heavily on. Now it also the time to start living on a fixed income. There are two benefits to doing so. When in retirement, you will be on a fixed income. You will run into trouble if your money runs out too soon. Starting to live on a fixed income now can give you practice for when you truly do depend on it. Also, when living on a fixed income, you are able to reduce your expenses. Any money that you save can be put towards your retirement. If worse comes to worse and you are truly worried about retirement, now is the time to supplement your income. A second job may be the last thing you want or need, but it may help you considerably. If you do opt for a second part-time job, place any money that you make into a retirement account, whether it be an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a savings account. Working a second job when you are fifty is much better than doing so when you are sixty. aving for Retirement at 60 Are you sixty years old? If you are, you may be preparing for retirement. As excited as you may be about no longer have to work, can you really afford the transition? If you haven't been preparing for retirement, it isn't too late to get started, but you need to get started now. The first thing you will want to do is start contributing to your 401(k) program. At this point in your life, any contributions that you can make, you should. At the very least, contribute 5% of your income. However, know that many employers will match contributions made by their employees. There is a minimum amount that you must contribute to receive this matching. If you do, you can essentially get free money for your retirement. Next, you will also want to consider opening a Roth Individual Retirement Account (Roth IRA). At your age, you are able to deposit more money into your account than those younger than you. When you go to withdraw the money, it is tax-free, as long as you wait until the right time to make your withdrawal. Next, you will want to examine your retirement wants and needs. Typically, this is the first step that you take. However, if you haven't been saving for retirement, it is imperative that you get started soon. Depositing any extra money that you have right from the start can help you get ahead in your goal to save for retirement. Returning back to your retirement needs, examine your housing. Is your house costly to maintain? If it is and if there isn't much sentimental value attached to your home, consider relocating to a more affordable housing option. In fact, you may want to closely examine retirement communities. Most are affordable to live in and you are automatically paired with neighbors that are your age, many of which will share your interests. It is also important to examine your retirement wants. What do you see yourself doing when you retire? If you are like most retirees, you will likely want to do things other than stay at home watching television. Do you want to travel? Do you want to start your own business? Are there other activities that you want to enjoy, such as camping, boating, or fishing? If so, it is important to examine these costs and add them to the estimated amount of money you need to save to retire comfortably. Next, it is important to learn to cut corners. Do you live in a fixed income? If not, it is time for you to start. When in retirement, most men and women are on a fixed income. For example, if you were to spend your retirement savings before you pass away, you are essentially left with nothing. Is this really how you want to live? It is important to practice living on a fixed income. If you find that you cannot do so, you have a small amount of time left to increase your retirement savings by working longer. Now is also the time to examine your debt. Do you have any? To see, request a copy of your credit report. Usually, the companies that you owe money to will try to collect. This may involve a request to appear in small claims court. Should this happen to you, you may be court ordered to pay the money. This can put a damper on your retirement savings and plans. Eliminating this from happening by making sure that all your debts are paid off before you retire. One question that many individuals in their sixties have involves paying off that debt. Many wonder how they can pay off their debt when they are also supposed to be saving for retirement. The two actually go hand-in-hand. When you pay off your debt, you should have more money for retirement in the long-run. Also, you can work to save money by eliminating unnecessary purchases or temporarily supplementing your income with a second, part-time job. A good approach to take is dividing the money into two. Some money can go towards your unpaid debt and the rest can go into a retirement account.
Tips for Choosing a Retirement Community Are you preparing for your retirement? Once you have determined that your finances are in good standing, you may be concerned with your living arrangements. Despite the fact that many retirees choose to stay right where they are, many more opt for retirement home communities. If you are interested in doing so, you will want to choose your retirement community wisely. The first step in choosing a retirement community involves familiarizing yourself with all of your options. Did you know that you have multiple choices? You do. Retirement communities come in a number of different formats. Independent retirement communities and facilities are the most popular choice among retirees who are in good health. These are establishments where you are essentially on your own. It is like you are just renting an apartment. Often times, the only onsite staff members are office workers, maintenance workers, and security personnel. Many independent retirement communities are designed to provide you with ease of living. This includes making onsite activities, like exercise classes and arts and crafts, available. Assisted living communities and facilities are ideal for retirees whose health is just starting to worsen. If you need help on occasion, an assisted living retirement community may be perfect for you. The assistance provided does vary, but you can get help with going for a walk outdoors, cooking, preparing for your day, or taking your medication. Nursing homes and facilities are another retirement option for those poor in health. Nursing homes are essentially hospitals with a more laidback environment. They are designed for individuals who cannot care for themselves. If you are researching nursing homes, you are likely a family member of the retiree, not him or her. When residing in a nursing home, patients are provided with around-the-clock care. This is a nice alternative to living with family or constant home nurse care. Continuing care retirement facilities and communities are another option that you have. This option is one that is increasing in popularity. Continuing care retirement facilities and communities essentially provide residents with independent living, assisted living, and around-the-clock care, depending on the resident's needs. These facilities are great for retirees who are concerned with their health and finances. Yes, your health may be good now, but there are no guarantees with the future. Relocating and putting stress on your family isn't advised. That is why continuing care facilities are often recommended. When making your retirement community and care decision, it is important examine your needs. Do you need assistance with day-to-day activities? Are you suffering from a debilitating disease that will only continue to get worse? If so, you should examine assisted living communities, nursing homes, or continuing care facilities. Next, examine your retirement community wants. Do you want to meet new people and develop new friendships? If so, make sure that the retirement community or facility is well populated. Also, examine onsite activities, as they make it easier to meet new people. Finally, examine cost and location. Always choose a retirement community that you can afford. If you are the relative of a retiree who needs care, be sure to keep quality in mind. Affordability is important, but not if quality must be compromised. As for location, choose a retirement community that is nearby your family. As you age, you will need the love and support of your family more. Saving for Retirement: Why Flexibility is Important Are you ready to start preparing for your future, in terms of retirement? If you are, you should get planning right away. In fact, the sooner you start planning for your retirement, the better off you are likely to be. That is why most men and women are encouraged to start saving for their retirement years when they are in their early twenties or thirties. When saving for retirement, you will want to create a detailed, yet realistic goal. After all, you need to know how much money you should save. Even if you are young, like in your twenties or early thirties, outlining your retirement goals and aspirations are important, despite the fact that they may later change. To determine how much money you should save for retirement, there are a number of important questions that you first need to ask yourself. Where do you want to live? Do you need to relocate to get to that destination? What type of home or living arrangement do you see yourself as having? What hobbies or activities would you like to take up? Do you want to start a small business in retirement? If so, start estimating the cost of these. When doing so, also take into account the standard cost of living, such as the basic needs of shelter, food, and transportation. Inflation should be accounted for as well. Once you have completed the above mentioned step of determining how much you need to save for retirement, you will want to expand that amount. You should always save more money than you need. Why? Because there are no guarantees with retirement or an age increase. Your retirement spending plan should account for flexibility, as there are some events that can arise that call for you to be flexible with your spending. As previously stated, inflation should be taken into consideration. The cost of goods and services will only continue to rise as you age. Not accounting for this rise can cause you to not have enough retirement money. Online, you can find a number of tools that can help you calculate the estimated inflation rate at your time of retirement. Keep in mind, however, that these are only estimates. A financial advisor can also provide you with these numbers. Next, it is important to remember that your health may start to worsen after retirement. Many senior citizens reach a point in time when long-term care is needed. Even if you are sixty years old and in good health, please remember that can change at just about any minute. Are you prepared for that change, if and when it arrives? You should be. The cost of long-term care should be included in your retirement savings. If you are retiring with your spouse, examine the cost of long-term care for each of you. Unlike living comfortably with one another in an independent living retirement community, the cost of long-term care can be expensive. Flexibility is also important as your family situation can change as well. Do you have children? If you do, do not rely on your children to help make it through retirement financially. Even if your children are in good financial standing now or when you first enter into retirement, that can easily change. It is expensive to raise a family, as you likely already know. You do not want to put your children's health, family, or finances, at risk; therefore, you should make sure your retirement savings plan is flexible and able to account for many of the unexpected events that life can throw your way. Saving for Retirement When Working from Home Are you self-employed? If you are or even if you are a home based worker who is employed as a contractor for another company, you may be disappointed to learn that you are, essentially, on your own when it comes to retirement. Those who work from home are responsible for saving and setting up their own retirement accounts. Unfortunately, this leaves many men and women regretting their decision to work from home. Planning for retirement when working from home or when self-employed may seem like a long and hopeless process, but it doesn't have to be. Even though you do not have a "traditional," nine to five day job, you can still save and start preparing for your retirement. In fact, now is the best time to get started. One of the first steps you will need to take involves determining how much money you will need for retirement. This can be difficult to do, but at least a rough estimate is advised. To estimate how much money you will need for retirement, examine your needs and goals. Where do you envision yourself in the future? Where do you want to live? What activities do you see yourself enjoying? It is important for you to answer these questions, as there is no way for you to meet your retirement goals if you don't have any. Another way that you can go about planning and saving for your retirement, when working from home or when self-employed, is by creating a monthly budget. Unfortunately, not all home based workers are raking in the money. Some moms work at home part-time and some offer services, such as web design and freelance writing, that are not needed on a regular schedule. If you are one of those individuals, a budget is a must have. Monthly budgets are advised, as our expenses tend to vary from month to month. When creating a budget, take your average monthly earnings and just start subtracting your expenses. If you are married, you will also want to include your husband or wife's expenses as well. There is no reason why the two of you can't help each other with creating a retirement savings plan. After all of the necessities have been added to your budget, such as your rent, mortgage, car loan, car insurance, food, gasoline, and utility bills, how much money is left? Take a percentage of that money or a set dollar amount each month and set it aside for your retirement years. Speaking of saving your money, many home based workers want to run on down to their local banks and open up a savings account. This is okay, but it, honestly, isn't the best approach to take. Instead, look for those that you can benefit from opening, like those that are considered tax-deferred accounts or programs. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are recommended, but SEP-IRA accounts are designed specifically for small business owners and the self-employed. It is also a wise idea to seek professional help. This help can come from a professional accountant or a professional financial advisor. It is best if you seek this professional help around the age of 40. This gives you enough time to make changes if your financial advisor thinks you do not have enough money for retirement saved. In fact, many home based workers and self-employed individuals wonder what happens when they don't have enough money saved for retirement. If the time for you to retire arrives and you don't believe that you can financially survive until you pass away, don't quit working. Do not use this as a part of your plan, however. You should plan and save for your retirement with the goal you will stop working. If you find yourself short on money, consider working part-time to make up the difference. If and when the time comes, you can also make additional changes, such as moving into a smaller home or relocating to a more affordable city or town. Saving for Retirement When Running a Small Business Are you a small business owner? If so, are you ready for retirement? Whether you are only thirty years old or if you are fifty, retirement should be on your mind. Small business owners are 100% in charge of their retirement. If you don't start acting now, you may find it difficult to stop working and retire in a timely matter. As previously stated, you will want to get started with saving for retirement as early as possible. Small business owners are encouraged to start planning for retirement in their thirties or even earlier. Why? Because setting up retirement savings accounts, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can be harder for small business owners. Often times, more paperwork is needed and extra verification is often required. For that reason, the earlier you start, the better your financial situation will look when it comes time to retire. One step that you will not want to take involves relying on the sale of your business. Unfortunately, this is where many small business owners find themselves in trouble. Many believe that they can sell their business and live off the profits. Yes, this may happen, but you may be surprised to learn how slim the chances are. Even if your business turns a nice profit, you still may not have any buyers. Many entrepreneurs like to start their own businesses from the ground up and not everyone has the funds needed to purchase a profitable and well-established business, like yours. Since you are encouraged to not rely on the sale of your business for retirement, you may want to refrain from selling. How many employees do you have? If you have one or more employees, can you work with and train someone to take over your position? If so, you can retire and still collect profits from your business. If you must hire an employee to replace the worker you promoted, your profits may slightly decrease, but you should still have enough to survive throughout your retirement. If worse comes to worse, you can always return to work. As a reminder, no matter how successful your business is, you should not rely on it as your only source of income during your retirement years. That is why you should also examine popular retirement saving accounts. Aside from a traditional savings account that you deposit extra business profits into, you should examine 401(k) programs. Unfortunately, many small business owners do not know that they exist for them. They do. A Single Participant 401(k), also commonly referred to as a Solo 401(k), may be perfect for you. They enable business owners who don't have employees to save money for retirement. Higher contributions are also allowed. When it comes to creating a Single Participant 401(k) or a Solo 401(k), you may want to speak to a financial advisor. This is because companies that offer these types of plans and programs can be difficult to find. They are out there, but you may need help finding them. Also, consulting with a financial advisor cannot do you any harm. In fact, you may learn additional tips and techniques for saving for retirement as a small business owner. Speaking of additional tips, it is important to not put all of your eggs in one basket. As previously stated, do not rely on your business to get you through retirement. Also, do not rely just on a 401(k) plan. Depending on your contributions, such as how often you paid your taxes, you should also qualify for social security benefits. You can estimate your benefits by contacting the United States Social Security Department, but still don't rely on it. On average, it only covers about 30% to 40% of income needed during retirements. To stretch your money to its fullest extent and to properly and safely prepare for retirement, examine 401(k)s for small business owners, SEP-IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, stocks, and bonds. In the event that one of your options does not pan out, you still have savings to fall back on. Retiring: Should You Rent or Own a Home? Are you in the process of planning for your retirement? Of course, you will want to take steps to save money for retirement, but you also need to have a plan, Part of that plan should involve determining where you want to live and how. A common question asked by soon-to-be retirees is "Should I rent or should I own?" When it comes to determining if you should rent or own a home during your retirement years, it can be difficult to make a decision. Why? Because every situation is different. That is why you should first examine the pros and cons of each. As for owning your own home, the biggest benefit of doing so is the equity you are provided with. This can give you security in your older age. Renting a home or an apartment does not provide you with any security at all. In the aspect of security, owning a home is typically advised, especially one that is already paid for. Should you find yourself short on retirement money later on, you can always sell your home. The money that you profit can be used to relocate to a smaller home or you could consider renting instead. The biggest downside to owning a home is the costs associated with doing so. When planning to retire or when in retirement, the last thing you may want or need is a mortgage to pay. With that said, remember that you do receive benefits. The interest rates on your mortgage can be used as a tax deduction. This can save you a small, but meaningful amount of money each year. If you are the sole owner of your home, like if your mortgage is already paid off, do not make the mistake of assuming that you are free and clear. There are still expenses that you will need to account for in your retirement years. When you own your own home, you are responsible for all taxes, including both school and property tax. When you rent an apartment or a home, you are not the individual responsible, as these should already be included in the cost of your rent. When comparing renting and owning a home in your retirement years, maintenance and renovations should also be taken into consideration. If you are 70 years old and your house needs a new roof, would you be able to afford the cost of it? You must be able to do so if you want to continue living in retirement safely and comfortably. As for renting, many renters receive reassurance and security because they are not the individuals in charge of making or paying for needed repairs and renovations. One downside to renting a home or apartment is cost increase. Your rent can increase at just about any point in time. In most states, unless your lease states otherwise, rent can be increased with 30 days notice. Even so, most leases are only for one year, meaning your landlord can raise your rent then. In fact, your landlord can raise your rent to any amount that they want, even an amount that you cannot afford. So which decision is best for you? Costs should be examined. If you live in an area with high rental rates, it is best to stay in your own home or even buy a new home. When making your decision, examine the long-term costs of each. Remember that rent can increase, while fixed rate mortgages do not. Retirement Planning Mistakes You Need to Avoid Making Are you ready to start planning and preparing for your retirement? If so, congratulations you are making a step in the right direction. The earlier you start planning for your retirement, the better off you will be when the time comes. The decision to start planning and preparing for retirement is a wise decision. As previously stated, the earlier you start, the better. With that said, the earlier you start planning for retirement the more mistakes you are likely to make. These mistakes, a few of which are outlined below, can cause financial problems and more when you are ready to retire. Not creating a budget for yourself and not tracking your spending are two mistakes that you will want to avoid making. This often leads to you spending more money than you have. You should be saving for retirement, especially at around the age of forty, not getting into debt. For that reason, never spend money that you don't have and never spend all of your money. It is best, but a must when you reach the age of forty, to start paying for all of your purchases with cash, checks, or debit cards. Before doing so, however, make sure that you have enough money to spend and keeping on saving for retirement. Another common mistake that people make, when creating a retirement plan, involves not taking health into consideration. Health and the impact it can have on your retirement can work two different ways. For starters, what if you get sick? Can you afford the cost of emergency surgery or long-term medical care? Even if you are healthy now, remember that your health can always take a turn for the worse. It is also important to note advancements in medical technology. Many men and women are living longer than they originally planned for. You don't want to run out of retirement money just because you lived longer than expected. In keeping with your health and wellbeing, it is important to examine your spouse and visa versa. There is a good chance that one of you will live longer than the other and possibly a significant amount of time longer. Make sure that you have enough money to retire on your own, in the event that your spouse passes away. It is also important to recheck all important documents. Make sure your will, mortgage, and all property deeds are in order and designed to protect the surviving spouse. Relying too much on government assistance, like social security, is a mistake that many make. This is a mistake that can be damaging to you. Did you know that social security will only pay for portion of your retirement needs? On average, it only covers about 40% of your needs. What plan do you have for the other 60%? If you don't have a plan, now is the time to develop one. The biggest mistake that many individuals make is dipping into their retirement funds before they are ready to retire. This is a huge mistake that can have a negative impact on your retirement and your finances in the future. You should never take money from your retirement funds, unless it is a dire emergency. Use your retirement savings as a last resort. If you need cash quickly, consider approaching your local bank or speaking to friends or family members to acquire small loans. Not knowing all of your saving options is another mistake that you will want to avoid making. Did you know that there are multiple ways that you can save money for retirement? There are, for example, a employer's 401(k) program, as well as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). There are also many others who use stock and bonds to save extra money for retirement. In fact, it is advised that you spread out your retirement savings to offer you protection. Do the proper amount of research online or schedule an appointment with a financial advisor before it is too late. Retirement Planning: 5 Reasons You Should Meet a Financial Advisor Are you planning and preparing for your retirement? If you are, you may have some questions. After all, soon-to-be retirees want and should have all of their bases covered. Of course, you can find retirement advice online or seek answers from those you know. There are, however, a number of benefits to meeting with a professional financial advisor. In fact, five reasons why are outlined below. 1 -- Knowledge and Expertise While anyone can claim to be a financial advisor, a small amount of research or recommendations from those that you know can help you ensure that you are dealing with a true professional. When doing so, you should receive valuable information. Most financial advisors are trained and experienced in the world of finance, as well as retirement. Generally, you should feel comfortable and trust the advice given to you by a financial advisor. 2 -- Realistic Goals Another benefit to meeting with a financial advisor is that he or see can make sure that your feet are on the ground. Unfortunately, many men and women get carried away with their retirement goals. If you want to start a business, you may be able to so. If you want to spend your days vacationing, you should also be able to do so. But, only if you have enough money saved. A financial advisor can let you know if it is even possible for you to meet your retirement goals in the remaining time that you have left to save. 3 -- A Good Value for the Money Yes, scheduling a meeting with a financial advisor will cost you money. Unfortunately, this is a problem for many. After all, to save for retirement, you are supposed to be saving money and reducing your expenses. While this is true, meeting with a financial advisor can be considered an investment. The small appointment fee is one that you can easily make a return on, should you adhere to the advice provided by your financial advisor. 4 -- Easy to Schedule an Appointment Many soon-to-be retirees don't want to go through the trouble to find and then schedule an appointment with a financial advisor. Doing so doesn't have to be difficult. First, ask for recommendations from those that you know and then call to make an appointment. The internet can also be used to research and find quality and reliable advisors. Your local bank may also be able to provide you with assistance. 5 -- The Consequences The consequences of not meeting with a financial advisor or not being prepared for your retirement are enough reason why you should schedule an appointment. At this point in your life, you should have been contributing to your 401(k) and you should also have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with money in it. If not or if you don't even know what these accounts and plans are, you need to meet with a financial advisor right away. As you can see, there are a number of benefits to scheduling an appointment with a financial advisor. A financial advisor does more than an accountant. In addition to helping you save money, they can also help you determine exactly how much money you need to retire comfortably. Yes, you can develop this total on your own, but financial advisors know to take other factors into consideration as well, such as medical emergencies and inflation. Do you? Professional Retirement Help: Where Can You Turn Are you in the process of planning for your retirement? If you are around the age of forty or fifty, you may be concerned with the planning process. Are you on track to retire comfortable? Do you need to save more money? How can you save that money? If these are questions that you have asked yourself, you may want to consider seeking professional help. As nice as it is to hear that you can seek professional retirement help, you may be curious as to how you should get that help. Better yet, you may be wondering why you should pay for it. Yes, you likely have a large number of friends and family members who are tossing retirement suggestions your way, but are they really qualified to give that advice? If not, you may be putting your retirement years and your finances at risk. As for how you can seek retirement help from a professional, you do have multiple options. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a great way to seek affordable, yet professional advice on your retirement. If you have used an accountant before, you may want to return to the same individual or company. To improve the accuracy of the information given to you, choose to meet with a CPA, as opposed to an accountant who working on the side or uncertified. When seeking professional advice through the use of an accountant, there is a lot of work that you will have to do yourself. Typically, accountants just help you get your finances in order. They help you determine how much money you have now, as well as share tips with you on how you can save money. It will often be your job to determine how much money you need to save for retirement. This involves determining your retirement wants, needs, and goals and then examining the estimated cost of them. If you would like professional retirement help, but if you would also like to limit the amount of research that you have to do, a financial advisor is advised. Financial advisors tend to offer more services than traditional accountants do. In fact, some financial advisors specialize solely in retirement planning. When working with a financial advisor, you will need to know what you want to get out of retirement. Where would you like to live? What type of establishment would you like to live in? What activities or hobbies would you like to enjoy during retirement? Explain these to your financial advisor and they can help you determine how much money you need to save. Next, you will both work on a plan to save that money. Another approach that you can take involves using the services of an attorney. Typically, attorneys try to refrain from providing you detailed financial information and tips, but a long-term attorney of yours may do so. It is still recommended that you meet with an attorney however. When entering into retirement, you need to have all of your finances and important documents in order. Do you have a will? If not, now is the time to draft one. Who will care for you or become your power of attorney in the event your health worsens? If you are married, is your home in both the name of you and your spouse? It should be. Are you getting ready to start preparing for your retirement years? Whether you are 30 years old or 50 years old, this is an important step to take. Planning for your retirement doesn't have to be hard, but there are a number of bases that you must have covered to see success. To make sure that you are on the right track to seeing the retirement future you always dreamed of, there are a number of important questions that you will first want to ask yourself. The answers to these questions are important when developing a retirement savings plan. When do you want to retire? The date you would like to retire is important, as that is your goal date. To retire when you want to, your goal of saving a specific amount of money must be met. When setting this date, it is important to be realistic. If you haven't saved any money for retirement, it is highly unlikely that you can be set for life in as little as a year or two. That is why you are encouraged to start the planning process as early as possible. Can you afford to retire when you want to? As previously stated, it is important to be realistic with your retirement goals. To help ensure that you are financially prepared and not left disappointed, determine when you can afford to retire. If the two dates don't match, you may be able to meet your goal by increasing your savings or living on a fixed income. For your own protection, do not retire until you are financially prepared to do so. What kind of retirement lifestyle are you seeking? This is one of the most important questions you will ask yourself. Why? Because it gives you a savings goal. Of course, it is important to estimate the cost of your living expenses, but what about your wants? Do you want to spend your days vacationing along the beach? Do you want to take up a hobby like boating? Would you like to start your own business? If so, try estimating the cost of these adventures. This can help you determine how much money you need to have saved to "safely," retire. Am I making use of my company's 401(k)? Are you employed? If so, do you have a 401(k) through your workplace? If you are employed full-time, you should. Are you contributing to your account? If not, this is a step that you must start taking now. It doesn't matter whether you want to retire in 20 years or in 5 years, any bit of money that you can put aside will help. This is particularly true if your company matches your 401(k) contributions, as you are, essentially, receiving free money. Should I open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)? The answer to this question is yes. If you don't already have an IRA, get one and right now. IRAs are much safer than traditional savings account, as you are less likely to dip into your account and use or "borrow," the money. An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) also provides you with tax benefits. What benefits will I be provided with and how much? It is important to know how much you will receive in social security benefits. The good news is that this information is easy to verify with a phone call to social security offices. If you are relatively young, such as under the age of 30, remember that changes may take place that may lessen the amount of social security your were projected to receive. Am I in debt? If you are in debt, now is the time to start taking action. Debt can have a negative impact on your retirement goals and dreams, especially when debt collectors come knocking on your door or even take you to small claims court. That is why you should never enter into retirement when you have unpaid bills. Instead, create a budget for yourself. The money that you are able to save can be spilt to repay your old debts, as well as add more money into your retirement savings. How to Save Money After You Retire When it comes to saving for retirement, much focused is placed on saving in your 30s, 40s, and 50s. Of course, you will want to do so. The sooner you start saving for your retirement, the more money you will have. With that said, did you know that you can still save money after you have retired? You can. Before focusing on a few of the many ways that you can save for retirement after you have already retired, it is important to examine your reasons for doing so. It is no secret that our wants and needs change, sometimes on a monthly basis. You may have been fine with the plan of staying around home, but you may have since changed your mind. Would you and your spouse like to travel the world or the country? Would you like to travel with friends? Do you want to start your own business or take up an expensive hobby? If so, you will need to save money, to extend to life of your retirement savings. As for how you can make money after you retire, start examining your expenses. For starters, look at your bills. How much money are you paying for auto insurance, electricity, heat, internet, television, and phone? Are there ways that you can reduce their costs? Is there a cheaper phone, internet, or television package you can purchase? Can you find cheaper auto insurance through a different company? If you can, make the switch. It is also important to examine unnecessary purchases. These purchases tend to reduce after leaving the workplace, but are you still spending money on things you don't need? Do you like to get a soda or coffee when you leave the house? If so, consider packaging a drink for you to take from home. As nice as it is to help your family in their time of need, make sure that you can afford to do so first. If your retirement goals depend on you saving more money, don't offer to help send your grandchildren to college or buy them a new car, no matter how hard it can be to say no. Remember that your retirement should come first. Another easy way that you can save money after you retire is by making use of senior discounts. Many businesses, including retail stores and restaurants, do offer them. If you know you qualify for a senior discount, ask for it. Do not wait for this discount to be offered to you. An easy way to save money after you retire is to supplement it. Are you still able to work? Can you comfortable move around or stand for long periods of time? If so, consider getting a part-time job. Many retailers need part-time employees. Some of these employees are only needed to work ten hours a week. This may be the perfect type of opportunity for you. This is an easy way to make and save more money for your retirement. Just make sure that you choose a job that you love and actually enjoy being at. If you find yourself in need of more money for retirement, as opposed to just wanting more, it is advised that you examine your current living situation. Is your home paid off? If so, you are at an advantage, but examine your maintence costs. Is the home in constant need of repairs? Are your utility bills higher than you can afford? If so, you should consider relocating to a more affordable home. In fact, you may want to consider renting. If you are able to find an affordable apartment, the money from the sale of your home can do wonders for your retirement savings account. As you can see, there are a number of ways that you can save money after you retire. In fact, it is recommended that you do. Your retirement goals can change at any point in time. There is also always the chance of an emergency, such as a medical emergency. Since retirement can be risky, you should be financially prepared. How to Save for Retirement on a Limited Budget Are you living day-to-day or from paycheck-to-paycheck? If you are, you are not alone. Many Americans are now finding themselves in a financial crunch. At that same time, financial advisors are still encouraging Americans to save for retirement. This is where you may feel hopeless. There is, however, good news. That good news is that there are still ways that you can save for retirement, even when experiencing financial problems right now. The first step you should take depends on your age. If you are between the ages of forty and fifty, you will want to closely examine your retirement goals. This includes both your wants and your needs. How much money do you need to retire? To determine an amount, look at your living situation. How much will it cost you to survive with the basic necessities, including food, shelter, health insurance, and transportation? Next, examine your retirement goals or wants. Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to travel? Is there are hobby you want to take up? Examine the costs of those activities. If you are between the ages of twenty and thirty, your retirement goals are still important. Of course, you will want to sit down and determine how much money you need to retire, but this can also wait a few years. If you are on a tight budget, it may first be a good idea to examine ways that you can save money for retirement. As an important reminder, there will need to be a point in time when you will examine your retirement years and what you want to get out them. As for how you can start saving money for retirement when living day-to-day, you will want to track your spending. You should do so for at least a week. You will want to record every single purchase that you make, including a small bag of chips or a cup of coffee. At the end of your week, look at your spending list. Circle all of the items that you can live without or make other arrangements for. Once you have a list of items that you can live without, it is time for you to take action. This action involves cutting corners and eliminating unnecessary purchases. The good news is that you don't necessarily have to go without. You can still save money by taking a few simple steps. For example, instead of buying a cup of coffee on the way to work each morning, make your own at home. If you are known for buying new clothes too often, consider shopping at a department store or a thrift store, as opposed to a high-end clothing store. There are so many different ways for you to save money. Now, saving money is great, but only if you put that money where it needs to go. Do you have a 401(k) plan? If so, start applying your saved money to that plan. If you do not, open up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). There are other options that you have as well, such as a savings account at your local bank, stocks, and bonds. Some of these methods can be risky; therefore, you will want to spread your money out. As you can see, there are a number of ways that you can save for retirement, even when you are on a limited budget. Whatever approach you take, be sure to stick to your plan. How to Meet New People After Retiring Are you getting ready to retire? If you are, you are not alone. In fact, there is a good chance that many of your friends are reaching the age of retirement as well. Unfortunately, you may find some of these friendships coming to an end or you may at least see a reduction in frequency. Why? Because many retirees are now choosing to relocate, often to their dream vacation destination. If you find yourself retired and without many friends, you will want to take action. Retirement is a time in life when you should be enjoying yourself. This includes making and developing new friendships. For tips on how you can do so, please continue reading on. Your county's senior center is a great place to start. Most areas in the United States have senior centers for their local seniors. These centers are typically run on a countywide basis, meaning that you may have to travel to the next town over. The good news is the reward that you will receive. At one point, many senior centers were only used to provide health and retirement advice to senior citizens, but now they are also being used for entertainment. Some counties have days filled with onsite activities, that may include cooking classes, group counseling sessions, arts and crafts, and well as bingo games. In addition to events that are hosted by your local county's senior citizen program, there should also be other public and privately sponsered events in your area. Attending these events, namely those that are designed for seniors, is a great way to get out and meet new people. Look in your local newspaper or on community message boards for informational seminars for senior citizens, exercise classes, recreational card games, and cooking classes. Volunteering is another great way to meet other seniors and retirees your age. As an added bonus, you can feel good about yourself in knowing that you are doing a good deed by volunteering. For the largest selection of other men and women your age, you are encouraged to examine hospitals and nursing homes that need volunteers. Other volunteer opportunities may include the library, pet shelters, and local schools. If you are at the point where the lack of social interaction you are getting or expect to receive is having a negative impact on your health and wellbeing, consider relocating to a retirement home or community. Regardless of where you live now or where you want to live, you should have multiple living options. Retirement communities and homes are a great place to meet other retirees and senior citizens, as everyone is about the same age. Just be sure to greet those that you meet in the hall. Speaking of retirement communities and homes, make use of all onsite services and activities. Most retirement communities and homes are designed to provide residents with convenience. For example, your facility may have weekly exercise classes, card games, or bingo games. If so, attend these events to meet new people. Also, frequenting high traffic areas, like the mailroom and laundry room, can also give you an opening to meet new people. As you can see, there are a number of different ways that you can meet new people and develop new friendships once you enter into retirement. As an important safety note, avoid using the internet to develop new friendships, as doing so can be dangerous. How to Find Retirement Communities Are you planning for your retirement? If you are expected to retire within the next year or two, you may be on the hunt for retirement communities. With so many options to choose from, many seniors are wondering, how they can start familiarizing themselves with their options. The first step in finding a retirement community is to decide on a location. Do you want to stay in your current community? Have you always dreamed of moving to Florida or another location with beautiful weather? If so, now is the time to make your decision. Targeting your retirement community search to a specific location can save you time. Once you have decided on a destination, you have a number of different options. If you will be staying in or around your local community, you can turn to your local phone book. There, you will find a number of retirement communities located in the yellow pages or business directory section. These centers may be listed under "retirement," "housing," or "assisted living." Your phone book should provide you with the telephone number of the establishment in question. Contact them for more information. If you are internet savvy, you can use the internet to find retirement communities. If you already have the name of a retirement home or community, like one that was recommended to you, perform a standard internet search with that company or community name. If the place has an online website, you should be directed to that website. Not only can you get the needed contact information, you will also be provided with other valuable information. This information may include a summary of rates, pictures, room layout plans, a detailed list of onsite services, facilities, and scheduled activities. In keeping with using the internet to find retirement homes and communities, you can also turn to online business directories and online phone books. Many enable you to search for a business, like a retirement home, by location, such as your chosen destination. The information that you will be provided with should include an address, a telephone number, and possibly a company website link. Be sure to visit the website of the retirement community in question or at least call for additional information. Typically, you will find it easier to find retirement communities online. In fact, you will likely be provided with more options. Your local phone book may be limited in its information or it may be outdated. If you are not computer savvy yourself, consider asking a friend or trusted family member for help. An afternoon spent together can produce a large list of retirement homes and communities in or around the location of your choice. Remember that moving into a retirement community is a huge decision. In fact, you will need to do more than just find a retirement community. You will also need to choose one. When making your decision, keep affordability in mind. It is a must to choose a retirement community that you can afford. Also, examine your needs. Do you need assistance with living day-to-day? If so an assisted living retirement community is advised. The above mentioned methods are all ways that you can go about finding retirement communities. As an important reminder, don't just find a community to live at; choose the one that is the perfect fit for you.
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