I’m sure by now you know what you want to achieve this year, financially or otherwise. As the global economy is yet to fully recover, many people are still struggling to make ends meet, and as a result there are areas that have sacrificed and pushed to a future date, for example, retirement planning. As much as understand that we are facing the worst economic environment since the great depression, there are areas that if left ignored will lead to a financial disaster in the future. Since retirement is not something that will happen in the next few years, I hope, the kind of lifestyle you will be living then will depend on what you do now. So, as we face the challenges brought about by this financial crisis, ignoring your retirement will be like postponing your next financial catastrophe to sometime into the future. The best way to go about the issue of retirement is to start saving early, no matter what kind of financial situation you are in, as explained by Cecelia Yap in the following article:
I’m going to show you how to save for retirement, the “smart” ways:
- Estimate how much you need to save to last throughout your retirement years, with inflation built-in. How much your expenses will be at retirement and your life expectancy at retirement (based on when you might retire) are the crucial measuring yardsticks to know how much you need to save. Multiply your estimated annual expenses at retirement by the years you can expect to live after retirement. You get a rough idea of what you need to save for retirement. (P/S: Experts estimate that your retirement expenses will be 30% lower than when you were in the work force)
- Deduct the amount you expect to receive from Social Security. Contact the Social Security Administration at get your estimated benefits at retirement. On average, Social Security will account for less than 44% of your income (and if you’re in a higher income bracket, the figure could be more like 15%). The rest must come from you, from your other sources of income – could be pensions, retirement savings plans, annuities, interest, dividends, rent….
- Learn about your employer’s pension Or profit-sharing plan – if your employer offers a plan, check to see what your benefit is worth. Most employers will provide an individual benefit statement if you request one. Before you change jobs, find out what will happen to your pension. Learn what benefits you may have from previous employment
- Contribute to a tax-sheltered savings plan – if your employer offers a tax-sheltered savings plan, such as a 401k, sign up and contribute all you can. Your taxes will be lower, your company may kick in more, and automatic deductions make it easy. Over time, compound interest and tax deferrals make a big difference in the amount you will accumulate
- Put your money into an individual retirement account (IRA). You can put up to $4,000 a year into an IRA and gain tax advantages. When you open an IRA, you’ve 2 options – a traditional IRA or the newer Roth IRA. The tax treatment of your contributions, and withdrawals will depend on which option you select. Also, you should know that the after-tax value of your withdrawal will depend on inflation and the type of IRA you choose
- Get familiar with basic investment principles. How you save can be as important as how much you save. Inflation and the type of investments you make affect how much you’ll have saved at retirement. Know how your pension or savings plan is invested. It’ll help to enhance your financial security.
- Don’t touch your retirement savings. You’ll lose principal and interest, and you may lose tax benefits. If you change jobs, roll over your savings directly into an IRA or your new employer’s retirement plan.
- Start now to save and stick to it. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Put time on your side. Make retirement savings a high priority. Get a plan, stick to it, and set goals for your savings.