Years ago, you may have settled upon a retirement goal. You knew at which age you wanted to retire, you had an idea of your expected lifestyle, and you decided upon a savings goal. But in the meantime, maybe various life factors got in the way of meeting that goal. Now you find yourself wondering what to do next.
Your first option is to change your plan. Did your plan for retirement include a move to an expensive location, or extensive travel to foreign countries? Would you regret changing those plans and adopting a more frugal lifestyle? If you're in a hurry to stop working, you might not mind the trade-off of abandoning some of your more lofty goals. On the other hand, you may not want to give up on certain dreams.
If you're determined to still meet your retirement goals, your second option is to simply delay retirement by a few more years. This gives you more time to work during what is probably the earnings peak in your career. By making catch-up contributions to your retirement account, paying down existing debts, or adopting a more aggressive investment strategy, you could still meet your savings goal. Of course, it's important to know your own risk tolerance, and never risk more money than you could afford to lose.
Your third option is to find an additional source of retirement income. Perhaps a reverse mortgage is right for your situation, or you could take on a part-time job after you stop working in your current career. There are many part-time job opportunities for retirees that still allow for plenty of travel and leisure time, and working part time can actually prevent the unexpected boredom and depression that sometimes strikes retirees.
If you fear you may be falling short on your retirement savings goal, talk to your financial advisor. Together you can create a new plan that more accurately reflects your updated priorities and concerns.
This material was written by Online Profit Strategy for the use of Kirt Carstens.
Saving for retirement can be quite a challenge. Between living expenses, paying down your debts, and your tax burden, it can be a challenge to find room in your budget to save an adequate amount for retirement.
As you may already know, contributing to a 401(k) retirement plan is one of the most tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement. These funds allow you to save money with all taxes deferred, meaning you don't have to pay taxes on the money until you begin taking distributions in retirement. These retirement accounts provide workers with a great way to save for retirement while avoiding income taxes on that money until later in life.
Of course, the Internal Revenue Service limits the amount of money you can contribute to your 401(k) each year. These contribution limits are occasionally raised, to allow for the impact of inflation. Since inflation can have a negative impact on retirement budgets, it's always great news to hear that the IRS has lifted contribution limits for 401(k) plans. In fact, it was recently announced that the contribution limit for 2015 has been raised to $18,000.
In addition to this higher contribution limits for all Americans, the “catch-up” contribution (for workers aged 50 and over) has also been raised from $5,500 to $6,000 for 2015. Therefore, if you're 50 or older, you can contribute up to $24,000 dollars to your retirement fund next year. This is particularly great news if you weren't able to save much for retirement in your younger years. If you're at your earnings peak, and worried about affording your impending requirement, these higher contribution limits should ease some of your worries.
Now that you're able to save even more for retirement, contact your human resources department at work to adjust your paycheck withholding. Having the money sent directly to your retirement fund is the easiest and most painless way to save for your future.
This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. Please consult with a professional specializing in these areas regarding the applicability of this information to your situation.
When you think of retirement planning, you may be focusing on one question: How much money do I need? Unfortunately, there isn't a singular answer to that question that will satisfy everyone's needs. In addition, there are many more questions you should ask yourself before making a solid plan or quitting your job.
What are my expectations for retirement? Your retirement may not be anything like your neighbor's retirement,so there is no set amount of money everyone must save before they stop working. You deserve to enjoy this special time after decades of hard work, but your goals are as unique as you are. Where you plan to live, the hobbies you hope to pursue, and even factors such as your social life will influence your budget in retirement. Don't worry about Jim next door and his retirement savings goal; worry about yourself and your own goals.
How much will health care cost? When you first think of your expected retirement budget, you're probably calculating items like housing, food, travel, and so on. But don't forget that you could experience unforeseen medical bills, from expensive prescriptions or even a long stay in a nursing facility. Consider whether your insurance is adequate to cover unexpected health care costs, and plan a little more room in your budget to cover them.
How many years will I spend in retirement? Rather than focusing on how much money you need, ask yourself how long you will need it. Of course, you don't have a crystal ball, so you'll have to guess about your life expectancy based on your current state of health, your parents' longevity, and other factors. Knowing how long you need to live on your retirement savings can help you figure out how much you need to save.
When you think about retirement, you may tend to focus on saving enough money to live out the rest of your life comfortably. But don't get so hung up on the question of “How much” that you forget to ask yourself this very important question: “Where do I want to retire?”
Many retirees plan to stay exactly where they are, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. But many soon-to-be retirees realize that the cost of living where they currently live will be a heavy burden to bear on a fixed income. Therefore, they plan to sell their homes and move to a new city or state – or even another country – where the cost of living is much more friendly to retirees. But before you decide upon a retirement location, consider the following factors.
Proximity to loved ones. That remote island might sound fantastic now, but when your daughter announces that she's expecting twins you may suddenly wish you lived closer to family. You might also miss your friends or your old community traditions. Traveling to visit home a few times a year can be expensive, so be sure to leave room in your budget.
Taxes. Obviously, federal income taxes are calculated at the same rate in all 50 states. But you would be surprised by the differences in state income taxes. Many retirees try to avoid states which tax Social Security income at high rates. Property and sales taxes are other important considerations.
Your lifestyle. If you love warm weather and the beach, you probably won't be too happy living in, say, North Dakota. Carefully weigh your hobbies and interests against the cost of living in a location which offers those options.
Access to health care. An exotic location may seem ideal, but remember to consider proximity to quality health care.
Consider a trial run. Once you've decided upon a retirement destination, consider trying a short-term rental in the area. After a few months, you will have a better idea of whether this place is “right” for you. Hopefully everything will work out as you hoped. But if it doesn't, you haven't invested all of your money in a mistake.
Carstens Financial Group focuses on providing comprehensive asset management, estate planning and life insurance solutions. Allow us to help you secure your financial future.