Defining A 401K

There’s no greater financial safety net than Social Security. Regardless of it’s faults, every year it helps hundreds of thousands retired people to thrive  in their retirement years. But the Social Security program was never meant to be the only income source for retire people. In fact, that’s why the 401k plan was created. It was a greate means for the federal government to entice workers to save money for their retirement years by providing them with financial incentives to do so.

But what is 401k plan? A 401k program is a retirement investment plan available to employees of companies. The company administrates the plan but employer and employee both are allowed to add funds to the plan. The all important, and huge, reward of a 401k plan is that you are able to invest using pre-tax dollars.

That is, the money that you earmark for the 401k is placed into the plan before it is taxed. In addition, the money is able to continually earn untaxed interest on your donations until you withdraw the money – typically at retirement. And even then, only the money that you withdraw from the fund is taxed. Presumably, since you’ll be at a lower income level when you retire, the amount of money that you will be taxed will be lower as well.

Some employers entice workers to join their company by touting their generous 401k packages. In better economic times, it was not unusual for a company to match the employee’s contribution with an equal amount of their own. So if you contributed $100 to your 401k plan, they would kick in another $100, in effect giving you a 100% gain on your money even before your investments kicked in. In the current recessionary economy, however, those generous packages have become harder to come by. But even without that perk, if a 401k plan is offered by your employer, you should definitely take advantage of it. When you retire, you’ll be glad you did.

Answer These Three Questions If You Want To Retire With Enough Money

Almost every person that retires plans on doing some traveling in his sunset years. But before you begin to make plans for  retirement travel make sure that your retirement plan will support it..

Do you know how much money you will need at retirement? Do you know if you will even have that much money? The best method to know for certain is for you to start putting together your retirement worksheet today. Before you begin your worksheet, however, you will need to answer the following 3 vital questions:

How much do you want to make a year, in today’s dollars, when you retire? Or, to put it another way, if you were to retire today, how much money a year would you need to keep you living in the fashion to which you are accustomed. Most retirement spreadsheets and calculators will have built into them projected estimates for inflation and will be able to use this figure to calculate roughly the amount of annual income you will need at retirement.

What number of years remain until you retire? This is crucial as it’s the number of years that you have left in which to contribute funds to your financial portfolio. The computer worksheet will take the value of your present investment portfolio and add to it any anticipated donations up to the retirement date. The computation will predict approximately what amount of income you can expect to have when you retire. If this dollar amount is less than what you require, you will have to ether add more money to your portfolio, alteration your investing strategy, or lower you expected standards of living at retirement.

How many years do you expect your retirement fund to last? This can be a highly sensitive question as it gets into life expectancy and mortality issues. When you start to collect Social Security, your earnings from it will be comparatively constant. But if you’re like most people, Social Security will cover less than half of your desired income. And in a lot of cases, it’ll cover considerably less. This means that the rest of your investments have to supply your remaining income. In the best of circumstances, you will be able to live off of a combination of the interest and dividends from your investments and not have to touch the principal. On the other hand, if you are pressured to begin taking money from the principal, your annual income from it will continue to decrease until it’s used up. Knowing how many years your retirement funds will be necessary will help you make the decision as to whether you should start to draw the principal down or accept a lowered standard of living.

Social Security Benefits

Social Security Benefits Video

Social security is an important component of saving for retirement, and if you do not plan out your social security benefits accordingly, it can hamper your enjoyment of retirement.  Fortunately, information on social security benefits can be easily accessed.  With a little patience and research, you can understand exactly how to save for social security benefits. 

The traditional understanding of retirement has changed greatly in this country, with the time honored 65 no longer the usual age for retirement.  Although many companies still hold 65 as their official retirement marker, even the Social Security Administration has lifted its official age.  Determining the age at which to take social security benefits is perhaps one of the most crucial factors in how much benefit you receive.  SSA offers both full and reduced benefits to retirees, and which of these plans you qualify for depends greatly on what age you begin drawing benefits.

Those that retire and draw benefits at the age of 65 will see a serious loss of benefits.  The SSA utilizes a simple chart that determines when the total amount of benefits may be drawn.  For those born after 1960, for example, the retiree must be 67 before full benefits can be received.  This does not necessarily imply that you have to delay until age 67 to retire, but it does mean you must wait until then to receive full benefits.

When retiring, diversify your income sources as much as possible.  Do not rely on social security benefits alone pay all the expenses.  For example, signing up for Medicare is an excellent way to lessen the cost of drugs and medical service. This can help you avoid spending too much on drugs and medical services.  As Medicare becomes available at age 65, there is almost no reason to not at least apply.  It can save a significant amount of money over time.

Planning the arrival of your social security benefits to complement your expenses will help defray the cost.  The longer you can afford to wait on social security benefits, the greater the benefit from the program.  Breaking up income sources such as an IRA or other pension plan with social security benefits can help ensure a steady income.  The difference of a few years can be very significant with social security benefits, dramatically affecting the benefits that can be withdrawn.

More on retirement here Retirement Calculator and also here Social Security Benefits

Senior Communities

Senior communities have always been around in the United States, but in the past few decades a revolution in quality and service has emerged.  Most retirement communities now seek to cater to senior needs, providing a comfortable and yet exciting environment.  Many seniors move to these communities looking for more social activity with people, as well as for the various amenties that are offered.  A senior community can provide an exciting environment, full of fun that is all within convenient reach.

Florida is the capital of the retirement community world, with dozens of communities established throughout the state.  Florida boasts a warm climate that is especially comfortable during the winter, as well as unparalleled scenery and wildlife.  The Florida Panhandle region in particular is home to some of the most exotic wildlife and great views in the country, with retirement communities nestled throughout the area.  Aside from beautiful natural land, the Panhandle also offers some of the most historic communities in the nation.  St. Augustine, established centuries ago by the Spanish, can be found in the Panhandle.

Newer retirement communities are usually established by corporations, each seeking to offer the best experience possible for its customers.  Because there are so many retirement communities in Florida, these establishments offer a wide range of amenities, all in an effort to attract customers.  Championship 18 hole golf courses are frequently seen in retirement communities across Florida.  Lavish health and fitness centers can also be found in many retirement communities. 

Homes are often built in Mediterranean style, with an emphasis on beauty and comfort.  Retirement communities in Florida range greatly in price, from the more basic establishments to the most well equipped, offering homes in the multimillion dollar spectrum.  More affordable options include seniors only living units and modular home units.  While still offering quality amenities, these units are somewhat more modest, allowing seniors to budget more appropriately.

Many seniors sell their homes and use the capital as an investment.  Moving into a seniors apartment, they can live comfortably off the returns from their investment.  For those seniors that want both an independent lifestyle and the medical support they need, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (or CCRCs) can offer this sort of flexibility.  A CCRC has the expected amenities required to have a great time, while also offering flexible medical care as the need may arise.

Learn more on retirement here Retirement Resort and also here Senior Communities

Retirement Speech

A retirement speech is your best opportunity to convey best wishes or congratulations to a retiring coworker, or your only opportunity to express your feelings about a potentially lifelong career.  Either way, it is the last moment in your career, and one of the most important.  Do not leave a retirement speech to the last minute.  A long and fruitful career deserves an equally well planned retirement speech.  Despite the anxiety that sometimes comes with public speaking, it is certainly not a time to become too anxious.

Just a little bit of prior planning can help to make the most out of your speech.  Excessive detail and notecards are surely not a requirement, but it does pay to do a bit of planning before heading into the speech.  The most crucial part of any speech, especially a retirement speech, is that you appear relaxed and act yourself.  This can be made very easy with a little advance planning.  Heading into a retirement speech, have some idea of the structure you will follow.
This will keep the speech concise and effective.

One of the best methods for any retirement speech is the selection of one incident.  Although you might be speaking of a long career, look to the past for a memorable moment that really reflects that career.  This is a superb way to show the character of those that you work with.  A single well chosen incident can do more to illustrate your experiences than an hours worth of aimless rambling.

A dash of a bit of humor can also go a long way in a retirement speech.  The humor does not have to be overwhelmingly funny, but should simply reflect the situation and loosen everybody up a little.  With just a touch of humor, you can get everybody onboard for the speech, capturing their attention.  Sprinkling small touches of humor throughout the speech makes it more memorable.  Humor in a retirement speech should not stray toward the tasteless, nor does it need to be astounding.  If you have a hard time coming up with anything, turn to the internet for a little help.

There are entire retirement speeches online, sometimes free and sometimes available for a fee.  When really short on time, purchasing one of these as a template might be an option.  You should always try to give a retirement speech as personal a touch as possible.

Learn more on retirement here Retirement Resort and also here Senior Communities

Retirement Resort

Many people dream of a retirement spent in luxury, and a big business has sprung up to cater to this dream.  With the baby boomer generation quickly approaching retirement age, the retirement resort industry has increased its efforts to provide the most luxurious facilities in the world.  Retirement communities were once a drab affair for the most part, but recent years have seen the arrival of luxurious communities that offer a wide spectrum of amenities for residents.

When it comes to retirement resorts, Florida is perhaps the number one destination in the United States.  Whether because of its low taxes or sunny climate, Florida has been the center of the retirement community for many years.  As a result, Florida has seen the appearance of incredible retirement resorts, each working to provide its residents the most complete experience.  Although other states definitely have retirement communities and resorts, Florida tops them all in its volume and class of establishments. 

As far as retirement resorts, Florida has a great deal to offer.  Northern Florida is known for its historical preservation, including the famous St. Augustine.  Jacksonville is a major city that provides shopping and night life to those seniors that want to get out on the town.  A vibrant arts culture exists in northern Florida, especially in Jacksonville.  Several retirement communities and resorts sit on the waterfront in northern Florida.

In central Florida retirees will also find several resorts.  The nearness of Orlando makes these resorts the perfect location if grandchildren are coming to visit.  Orlando itself offers a staggering number of restaurants and shopping experiences.  There are many retirement resorts in the Orlando area to choose from.

The Panhandle area of Florida is home to some of the most beautiful natural vistas in the world.  There are numerous retirement resorts settled in this area, giving retirees a great place to enjoy themselves.  Most of these communities have large and luxurious homes, as well as a full range of amenities.  Swimming pools, tennis courts, and exercise facilities are easily found in most retirement resorts in Florida.

Finding the right retirement resort is all about where you want to be, and how much you can afford to spend.  Retirement resorts cater to just about every range of budget.  There are more affordable condominiums, as well as multimillion dollar homes.

To find more info on retirement go to Nationwide Retirement Solutions as well as Best Retirement Communities

Easy Retirement Party Ideas

A retirement party is an excellent chance to both honor the past and usher in the excitement of the future.  Ensure that this chance is appreciated with the right tone, theme, and gifts for the retiree during the party.  Retirement party themes should seek to celebrate the career of the retiree, and to wish them the best in the coming years.  The retirement party ideas do not have to be extravagant or crazy in order to make a lasting impression with the retiree and friends.  Sometimes the easiest ideas can be the best ones.

Focus on what the retiree accomplished in his or her career to find a possible theme for the upcoming party.  If the retiree was an office manager, for instance, focus some gag gifts or part of the theme on paperwork and deadlines.  The retiree will love this kind of ironic humor.
If there are photographs available throughout the career of the retiree, make a slideshow from them and play it throughout the party.  This is an excellent means to bring back some memories, and show the retiree throughout their career. 

One potentially funny set of gag gifts for a retirement party are items that don’t work anymore, such as broken VCRs or alarm clocks.  Gag gifts are an excellent way to break the ice at a retirement party, and to keep the atmosphere relaxed.  Although the retirement party should have memorable moments, it should also be fun for both the retiree and the people in attendance.  A video created by the colleagues of the retiree is another great idea.  This is an excellent opportunity for friends and coworkers to make a statement about their time with the retiree, and the impact they had on the company.

Be sure to issue invitations to all the intended party guests, so that everyone is sure to attend.  If any special theme items are required from the guests, be sure to mention that in any invitations that are issued.  The subject of gifts should also be broached with potential guests, so that they know what kind of items will be expected.  Gag gifts are an excellent way to break the ice at a retirement party.  Above all, just be sure that guests know what kind of items they will be expected to bring along to the party.

Get more on retirement here Nationwide Retirement Solutions and also here Florida Retirement Communities

Give Basic On Writing Your Retirement Letters

When writing a letter of retirement to an employer, it is important to submit the letter at least six weeks before the planned date of retirement.  This will give your employer the time they need to find a replacement and do any needed training needed to fulfill your responsibilities.  Although an employer might know of your upcoming retirement, it is still considered a good idea to file a retirement letter well in advance of the retirement date.  This is considered a professional courtesy for an employer.

In the retirement letter itself, be sure to state the actual date of planned retirement.  Retirement letters are also a great opportunity to thank an employer for years of employment.  Be certain to also thank your supervisor and coworkers for all that they have done in the past years of your career.  Let friends know what they have meant to you.  You will also need to make certain that the transition is as smooth as possible for the company.  Promise to meet with a potential candidate, and do anything else that might be required to ensure that the transition is smooth.

This is also a good time to make any plans about part time consulting services known.  Many retirees continue working in a part time capacity as a contractor, so consider this as a potential avenue for post retirement income.  

Many retirement letters can be quite lengthy, but the basics must still be covered.  The most important points are when you will retire, thanking immediate colleagues, and stressing that you will remain to help during the transition.  Beyond that, a retirement letter can take on many additional forms.  You can also send retirement letters to coworkers if you wish.

Think of a retirement letter as an opportunity to express your thoughts about the company, the people you worked with, and the future.  This is one of the best opportunities that will come along to express these kinds of thoughts, especially in writing.  When you begin writing, you may find that there is more to say than you thought.  The list of people that you wish to thank can easily grow quite long.  Be sure to make these well deserved thanks, however, because retirement letters are the best place possible to make your well wishes known to everyone.

Get more on retirement here Retirement Jokes and also here Nationwide Retirement Solutions

Add Humor To Your Retirement Speech With Retirement Jokes

A retirement party is a time to express feelings about retirees, their accomplishments, and what they meant to the organization, and to their colleagues.  After years of service, a retirement party should look back on accomplishments, remember memorable moments, and celebrate friendships.  A retirement party should also be fun, so a little humor is most likely in order.  No one has to be a comedian, but it helps to inject a little humor into the proceedings.

When trying to come up with a retirement speech, the humor can seem extraordinarily difficult to do.  Delivering a little humor in a retirement speech is a great way to lighten the mood.  Retirement jokes can be found all over the internet, making it easy to find some stock material that will go over fairly well.  The best kind of humor, however, can be found when it applies to the personal experiences of the retiree.  

Look back through the career of a retiree, and find the funny moments.  Talk to colleagues about incidents they may have experienced with the retiree.  The easiest way to put humor into a retirement speech is to create a smooth introduction, leading into a more serious subject.  A joke or two can act as a great intro for a memorable moment, when the retiree may have shown great character.  
Situations that may have been stressful during the career of the retiree can be a funny way to segway into a commentary on their character.  Discussing a difficult circumstance the retiree found him or herself in can be humorous, but it can also demonstrate their stalwart character.  Getting the audience to laugh, and then drawing them in with a memorable commentary, is a great speech technique.

Retirement jokes are a favorite on the internet.  While these tend to be highly formulaic and general, they can be a simple way to break the ice.  Again, nobody has to be a comedian at a retirement party.  Retirement jokes are simply meant to establish a rapport with the audience and get them to perhaps chuckle a little.  If you go with some one liners from the internet, be sure to only employ a few of them.  Use more than that and a speech will begin to sound excessively canned.

Get more on retirement here Nationwide Retirement Solutions and also here Florida Retirement Communities

Easy Retirement Plan Analysis

Many people, after having invested much of their money into a safe self employed retirement plans, are ready to begin their retire with no money problems. In fact, have you actually taken the time to sit down with pen and calculator in hand to figure out exactly how much of your monthly expenses your 401k fund will cover? If you haven’t, you may be truly shocked when you finally do get around to it.

Most people never take the time to map out a long term retirement strategy. For some reason, doing so never seems to rise to that level of importance. Sure they’ll save a little here and there and some may even have a structured savings plan where a certain amount of money is taken out of their paycheck weekly and deposited in a fund. But very few people go through the hard process of putting down in writing such basic facts as what age they plan to retire, how much money they’ll need when they retire, and how much money their fund will provide for them when they retire.

And that's a mistake you can't afford to make. It's also why when the big day finally comes, many new retirees will belatedly discover that their 401K and Social Security payments will not even come close to covering their monthly dollar outlays. So, unfortunately, at the age of 65 or whatever age they retired they discover that they have to go back to work - sometimes part time but sometimes full time - in order to make ends meet.

This scenario happens over and over again. But why? And can we avoid it? To put it bluntly – it occurs because they failed to make themselves a retirement plan. And yes, this situation is avoidable – if you don’t wait too late to start. So let’s start now.

Here’s a sensible and simple method to try in your effort to create a retirement plan. Ask yourself these questions. How much money do you presently bring in over a month? Many experts believe that you’ll need at least 60 to 80% of your pre-retirement gross earnings to allow you to remain at the same standard of living that you currently enjoy. Being conservative, let’s assume that you’ll need 80% to be comfortable. So, if you make $4,000 a month, your retirement fund plus Social Security payments would have to provide you with at least $3,200 a month.

Now ask yourself. How much will your current 401k fund plus Social Security provide for you at retirement. Is it at least 80%? This part may take a bit of work on your part, but there are calculators all over the Internet that can help you to answer this question.

If you find out that your retirement fund as currently established won’t provide you with at least 80% of your pre-retirement gross earnings, then unfortunately you have one of two hard decisions to make. Either you make a willing decision to lessen your standard of living at retirement. Or, you make a conscious decision to growth the amount of money that will be in your fund when you retire. You can achieve this by either taking an extra job and placing  the extra money in your retirement account or by choosing more lucrative investments. Whatever decision you choose, at least you won’t be going into your retirement years financially blind.

Now admittedly, this quick and dirty retirement plan analysis does not take into account many factors that a thorough analysis would. For example, we’ve left out factors such as whether your house has been paid off at retirement, whether you’ll still be supporting your children at retirement, and whether you have other substantial debt loads. And it’s more than worthwhile for you to map out a thorough retirement analysis plan as soon as possible. But even a quick and dirty plan such as this is more than most people do and is better than no plan at all which, unfortunately, is what most people have.