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Preparing for retirement

POSTED: June 25, 2014 12:00 p.m.
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The goal isn't more money. The goal is living life on your terms. Chris Brogan.

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Retirement is becoming an increasingly scary concept for people. Part of the reason is because it’s becoming more and more the responsibility of each individual to properly prepare themselves for it. Millennials are less confident about receiving Social Security than their progenitors, with half believing there won’t be anything at all. Anddefined-benefit programs like a company pension are at an all-time low, largely replaced by the 401(k), which often offers an incentive of a company match, but still puts more pressure on the individual to save for their own retirement rather than it being mainly a company benefit.

What all this means is that less and less people are prepared for retirement at age 65. It’s no longer a novelty to see people in their 60s and 70s working odd jobs to supplement their retirement income or even to just stay afloat.
So what does this mean for you? It means that the time to start thinking about your retirement plans is — yesterday.
Everyone has different expectations of what retirement should be. While many people want to travel, most tend to want to spend as much time with family as possible. So by properly preparing yourself for retirement means, in fact, putting your family first. Here are some best practices to follow when trying to find the right way for you.

Communicate with your spouse
Communication in marriage is key to reaching most goals. But when it comes to money, it’s imperative. While there are many things you have in common with your loved one, your perception and personality when it comes to finances may not be one of them. One of you may be a saver while the other is a spender.
Set goals together. Talk about what it will take for you to reach them. Speak frankly about issues that may come up that will keep you from reaching your goals. With a large part of your future together being at risk here, make sure you are doing what you can to make a happy and secure retirement a reality.

Understand your priorities
It can be hard sometimes to keep your priorities straight when one of them isn’t going to happen for a few decades. But the more importance you attach to your retirement, the more likely it’s actually going to happen. While many of the normal distractions people think of are spending too much money on a home, cars, and toys, there are other things that also sound important, but are nevertheless distractions.
For example, paying for your children’s college education. While this may seem important, the reality is that there are student loans for your children, but no retirement loans for you. Determine what your priorities are in addition to saving for retirement. With proper planning, you may be able to satisfy all of them. But if you can’t, make sure the top priorities are your main focus.

Meet with a professional
While having a 401(k) is a great first step to having a solid plan for retirement, there is a lot more planning and a lot more tools available for you to make things happen. A professional adviser can help you understand what your options are as far as maximizing your return. He or she can also help you realize what it actually takes to reach your goals. Because the fact is that the rule of thumb of saving 10-15 percent of your income for retirement may not cut it for some people. A financial adviser can help you map out where you want to go and what you need in order to get there.

Bottom line
The bottom line is that preparing for your retirement is a lot more important than people treat it. But it’s also easier than it sounds. By communicating with your spouse, determining your priorities and sticking to them, and meeting with a professional adviser, you can be well on your way to putting you and your spouse in a position where you can spend your golden years together doing what you want to do when you want to do it.

COMMENTS

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1 comment
carlyt: June 25, 2014 2:03 p.m.

The key is to start retirement planning and saving/investing early in life, be consistent, take advantage of any employer matching plan, max out contributions when possible, eliminate debt, avoid risks with your nest egg and plan for multiple streams of income once retired (social security, pensions, dividends, part time work, etc.). There is a great deal of information about retirement available on the web. I use several sites including the site Retirement And Good Living which provides information on finances, health, retirement locations, part time work and also has a great blog of guest posts about a variety of retirement topics.



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