How to Make the Most of Your Retirement Planning
Retirement is something that we should be thinking about. Whether you work in the corporate world or are a self-employed entrepreneur or a freelancer, it doesn’t matter. We all want to know that our latter years will be taken care of financially.
Here are some things to consider. At age 65, average life expectancy is 18 to 20 years (depending on gender). Approximately 30% of women and 20% of men will survive to age 90. National survey data and simulation studies suggest that middle income households have not saved enough to meet all expected retirement expenses.
Women outlive men by three to four years on average, and as a consequence, they represent a majority of older Americans. They have fewer years of work on average and lower earnings.
Depending on your age, your retirement strategy will differ slightly, but the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be in the long run. And as with most things in life, retirement planning is slightly different for women than it is for men given the many challenges they face.
Start saving now! The biggest misstep anyone can make is getting to retirement age, and having no savings at all. The single biggest financial regret of Americans is waiting too long to start saving for retirement.  Millennials are heading toward an age where retirement should be on their minds - not because they’re going to retire soon, but because now is the ideal time to start preparing a retirement strategy. If you’re under 40, your most valuable asset isn't a wrinkle-free skin or a full head of hair. It's time. Retirement is decades away, and contributions to a 401(k) or other retirement plan will have years to compound and grow.
To help improve the chances of achieving a comfortable retirement, start with a realistic assessment of how much you'll need to save. The truth is, and many financial planners will tell you, there is no “magic number.” How much you need to save for retirement will depend on your spending habits. For example, someone who saves $2 million will run out of money in retirement very quickly if they make extravagant purchases and don’t adhere to a budget. Whereas someone who saved only $500,000 might live quite comfortably if they lead a lifestyle that does not require much cash.
Estimate how much income you'll need. Use your current expenses as a starting point, but note that your expenses may change by the time you retire, depending on your lifestyle. For example, if you’re single and live in an apartment now, your expenses will be quite different if you plan to get married and buy a house, have kids, etc.
Do some research. Find out how much you can expect to receive from Social Security, pension plans, and other sources. If there is a retirement savings plan such as a 401(k) offered at work, join it as soon as possible. Contribute as much as you can. Contributions are deducted directly from pay, and with an employer possibly matching your contributions, you’d be wise to take advantage of that.
Set a retirement savings goal that you can work toward, and keep track of your progress.
Save regularly, save as much as you can, and then look for ways to save more - dedicate a portion of every raise, bonus, cash gift, or tax refund to your retirement savings.
Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.
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David Lerner Associates does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances. Member FINRA & SIPC
Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Call 516-921-4200 Visit our website: www.davidlerner.com
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