Despite the constant news coverage of impending doom in regards to social security, many people are still counting on their social security payments to support them through their retirement. The sad fact is that it simply is not possible because the money is not there. Sadder still is the fact that even if the money were there, it is doubtful that it would be enough to get the average person through their twilight years. Here’s why.
1. Your Expected Retirement Costs:
Choosing the right retirement plans should include an evaluation of your expected retirement costs. These costs are different for each person, the ideal plan for your retirement will allow you to save the amount of money that you expect to need once you retire. Some plans may not offer investment options that will provide the return needed to reach the desired account balance. Make sure that you include all potential expenses faced after retirement; otherwise you could choose a plan that falls short.
2. Your Anticipated Plan Contributions Each Year:
The plan that you choose should factor in your yearly expected contributions and ensure that your retirement goals can be achieved. Some plans may limit allowable contributions to a small amount on an annual basis, and some plans may allow catch-up contributions at 50 years old. Keep in mind, a small sacrifice today may greatly benefit you in the future!
3. Tax Planning Advice:
Finding the best retirement plans should include professional tax advice. The consequences of poor retirement planning can be large tax liabilities, at a time when your income is needed the most. Some plans utilize pre-tax contributions that are taxed upon distribution, while other plans use contributions made on a post-tax basis, so withdrawals are not taxed after retirement. Tax advice can help you choose the right plans for all of your retirement needs and goals.
4. A List of Retirement Goals:
Before deciding on the best plan for your financial security during retirement you will need to create a list of your retirement goals. Will you want to travel? Will you keep a second home? Will you work at a part-time job or take up a hobby with related expenses? Your retirement goals will affect the plan for your future, and the amount of retirement income you will need to live on.
5. A Professional Financial Planner:
A financial planner can help you choose the best retirement plans for your unique goals and financial needs at this stage in your life. A financial planner will help you to set financial goals, and then outline steps you need to take so that these goals can be easily met. Always remember this is YOUR retirement account, many financial planners say they have your best interest at heart, however at the end of the day YOU have to live off of this account, not them.
If you are knowledgeable in real estate, promissory notes, precious metals, private companies and you know you can increase your return on investment then do it! Find a financial planner that will encourage you to diversify your portfolio. A smart financial planner will know that encouraging diversification is better than an unhappy client.
6. A Good Retirement Calculator:
A good retirement calculator can help you accurately calculate all of the expenses you will have after you retire. This should be one of the first steps in retirement plans so that you do not end up short on funds in your golden years. These tools can help identify unexpected costs and expense that you may not have considered.
7. Your Annual Income Amount:
Some retirement plans have certain restrictions concerning annual income amounts for eligibility. Many 401K plans, IRA accounts, and other retirement options may not be open to high income earners. Some plans may be intended for small business owners or self-employed individuals, while others are intended for high income employees, and still others may be ideal for low-income wage earners. You will need to know the annual amount that you earn to determine which plan is right for your retirement needs. Speak with your tax-professional to discuss the best option for you.
It is best to begin making these plans as early as possible. It is not impossible to recover from poor planning in your younger years. The sooner you begin making plans for your financial retirement the healthier your retirement options will be. The best way to go about this is to define your retirement goals, make plans, and then take your goals and plans to a financial advisor and get his or her input, then follow your plan. Investing smarter is much wiser than investing harder.