Are you saving enough for retirement?

Hello-

The 2008 Retirement Confidence Survey indicates that more people are concerned about their retirement, the economy, and health care.

Most people do not have enough saved up to retire on:

Most savings levels are modest— Forty-nine percent of workers report total savings and investments (not including the value of their primary residence or any defined benefit plans) of less than $50,000. Twenty-two percent of workers and 28 percent of retirees say they have no savings of any kind.”

Source

Can you live on retirement savings of only $50,000?

Probably not.

If you retire at 55 or 65 and expect to live 20-30 years, you’re going to need a lot more than $50,000 to retire on.  Social Security is not going to provide you with a comfortable retirement.

How much do you need to save for retirement?

There is no magic number that will work for everyone.  However, you need to add at least another zero to the $50,000 amount of retirement savings.  $500,000 is a good start.  Most will need up to a million or more.

How the heck are you going to save up to a million dollars by the time you retire?

How the heck do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

You need to start, and start now.

The goal is to save at least 10% of your gross income.  Do an automatic deduction from your paycheck and put that into your 401k at work or into an IRA.

Each year as you get a raise or bonus, increase the amount of your automatic deduction.

It’s easier to save for retirement when you don’t have debt to worry about.

Take the steps you need to get out of debt so you can devote more of your income to the future instead of paying for the past.

Work more hours at work, take voluntary overtime, start a second job.  There are many ways to increase your income or supplement your income.  But you won’t find them by watching TV when you get home from work.

If you take the small steps now to start saving for your retirement, you may actually get the chance to retire when you turn 65.  If not, you may be spending many more years at that thankless, unrewarding job of yours.

You don’t want a gruesome retirement do you?

Setup the automatic deduction, enroll in your 401k program at work, get out of debt, increase your income and save, save, save.

-Adam

Save more money for your retirement in 2008

Hello-

Re: Saving money for retirement

It’s never too late to start saving money for your retirement. The sooner the better though. The earlier you start saving the earlier you get to start enjoying the benefits of compound interest. As 2007 comes to a close and 2008 jumps out at us, start making your New Year’s resolutions that will benefit you for many years to come – especially in your retirement.

If you have not started investing in your company’s 401k plan, do so now. Make an appointment with your HR manager to get you the paperwork you need to start automatically investing in your 401k. If your company offers a matching contribution of whatever you put in then make sure you invest the maximum amount they match. If they match 3%, at a minimum you should put in 3%. If they match 6%, then you must at least invest this amount. You are literally giving away free money with each passing paycheck if you do not take advantage of the company’s 401k matching program.

Using the company’s 401k match can mean the difference in you eating at McDonald’s in your retirement or eating at Chris Madrid’s in your retirement. Those burgers are awesome. If you’re not familiar with Chris Madrid’s, if you’re ever in San Antonio check them out. Great burgers.

Anyways, back to my point. You can save a lot of money effortlessly for your retirement by just investing in your company’s 401k so do it as soon as possible.

If you’re already enrolled then think about increasing your contribution by a percentage point or two. Then once you max out your 401k, it’s time to start thinking about an IRA. They can automatically withdraw this from your paycheck and put it into an IRA and invest it in stocks and bonds of your choosing.

Don’t forget about long term care and life insurance. Millions of people will need long term care as they get older. The earlier you buy it, the cheaper it will be for you. And you do not need to be rich to invest in long term care insurance.

Another thing to keep track of is your Social Security benefits statements. You should get these every couple years and they indicate approximately how much you should expect when you begin to withdraw from Social Security. Make sure the incomes reported on these are the same as what you actually make. You want to make sure, your full income gets reported so you get the full benefit of Social Security you’re eligible for.

One last thing is to look for opportunities to make more money so you can save faster and possibly even retire sooner. There’s nothing like the feeling of being able to retire early. You should do it just for the looks your coworkers will give you. :o)

Keep these tips in mind as you start planning your goals for 2008 and for your future retirement.

Here’s to a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!

-Adam

Free Retirement Planning Tips

Add an extra $500 a month to your retirement income

Here’s some alarming Social Security statistics:

$895
Average monthly Social Security benefit check for retired workers in 2002. This compares with $834 for disabled workers and $861 for widows and widowers. (Source: soon-to-be-released Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2003.)

$9,786
Average income for people 65 and over in 2001 that came from Social Security payments. This compares with an average total income of $22,210. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/001371.html>

So if you’re relying on Social Security to provide you with a comfortable retirement income then you need to think again.

Many people do now know the facts about Social Security and how much it will actually provide in retirement benefits.

Not many retirees let alone anyone can live off $900 a month.

I want to share a free report with you that can help you supplement your income and provide with you with extra $500 a month to your retirement income.

There is no catch. You download the report, you read it, you follow the step by step instructions and you start adding to your income. It’s simple to do, all it requires is work. That’s the big secret – you have to actually do some work.

The good thing is you can do this from home, in your spare time. And it doesn’t cost you anything. And it has nothing to do with MLM or real estate or stocks and so forth.

Get the free report and earn more retirement income.

-Adam

5 tips to help you meet your retirement planning goals

Five tips to help Americans kick your retirement planning into overdrive:

1)   Save, Save and then Save Some More!

You’ll never save enough for retirement if you don’t start saving now.
Put every penny you can into your company’s defined contribution plan,
(commonly referred to as a 401(k), 403(b), 457 plan, etc.) especially
if your contributions are being matched by your employer. You want to
shelter all the money you can from taxes and take full advantage of
your employer’s matching retirement plan contributions. Also, don’t be
afraid to look at after-tax planning vehicles like the Roth IRA or the
new Roth 401(k), which is now a permanent part of the tax code as a
result of the Pension Protection Act. We are not likely to see tax
rates as low as they are now, so it may make sense to grow assets that
you won’t have to pay taxes on later.

“While it may be hard to give up the current year’s tax deduction, you
should ask yourself which makes more sense: paying tax on the seed
(your original contributions) or the crop (your earnings). In most
cases it makes more sense to pay taxes on the seed. That’s why we like
the new Roth 401(k)s,” says Hinds.

2)   A Retirement Account is NOT an ATM

Don’t even think about touching the money you put toward your
retirement. “Think of your retirements as a black hole,” says Hinds.
“Once you’ve contributed the money, tell yourself that it’s
untouchable.”

Hinds says that having a good reason to withdraw money doesn’t matter.
While you may think it wise to pay off debt or buy a bigger house,
remember that you will likely have to “pay yourself back with interest”
for any loans you take against your company-sponsored retirement plan.
If you have a self-directed IRA, you will incur taxes and penalties if
you withdraw the money too soon. Worse than that, says Hinds, the money
will not be growing – either tax-free or tax-deferred, depending on the
type of IRA you’ve got. Early withdrawals for the wrong reasons put you
further away from your goal of achieving a secure retirement.

3)   Social “not much” Security

If you were counting on Social Security benefits to help supplement
your retirement savings, think again. Most experts agree that the
social security benefit program that our parents and grandparents knew
will not be the one we experience. According to many studies, within
the next decade, Social Security will begin to pay out more in benefits
than it will collect in taxes. Hinds warns that the Social Security
check that arrives in the mail each month will not likely be a
meaningful contributor to retirement income, and says the need for
people to develop their own effective retirement planning strategies
has never been more important.    

4)   Diversity Matters

A diverse portfolio can be your ticket to stability. By creating a
diversified portfolio – and not just among stock sectors – your
investments may perform more stably. An investment portfolio should
include stocks, bonds and money market securities. According to Hinds,
having technology stocks, airline stocks and automobile stocks does not
constitute diversification.

“Investors should look to strike a balance, to create a diversified
portfolio that will help them reach their retirement goals effectively
and safely. And, while the core part of your portfolio should include a
strategic mix of stocks, bonds and cash, a portion should be devoted to
more progressive strategies aimed at producing greater potential
growth. Some of the newer strategies even have built in income
protection in retirement, while still having the growth potential of
the stock market,” she says.

Diversification seeks to improve the performance by spreading your
investment dollars into various asset classes to add balance to your
portfolio. However, using this methodology does not guarantee a profit
or protection from loss in a declining market.

5)   Retirement Planning is a Rolling Stone

If you switch employers, consider rolling your retirement plan into a
self-directed IRA account — not your next employer’s 401(k) account. A
self-directed IRA opens additional investment options not available in
a 401(k) account and provides the opportunity to create a Stretch IRA,
a great distribution and legacy planning strategy. Although it is
tempting to take the cash and treat yourself to something nice, the
responsible thing is to preserve your retirement funds.

“Leave that money alone. You want it to grow so that you can enjoy a
secure retirement later,” says Hinds. “The average American gets a new
job every four years. If a retirement plan is cashed out every time a
person gets a new job, that person will never be able to retire and
live a similar lifestyle from his or her savings. That doesn’t even
take into account the tax penalties associated with cashing out a
retirement account.”   

For more info: http://www.granitefinancial.net/

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Social Security Traps to avoid


Social Security Traps to avoid

Scary Scenarios and Your Retirement Barbara Whelehan discusses the dire picture that has been painted about boomers’ retirement — and how most folks just don’t want to hear about it.
* Even though Medicare starts at age 65 (assuming you’re eligible), full Social Security benefits start later for those people born after 1938.
* If you choose to wait to take benefits until after age 65, don’t forget to apply for Medicare about three months before you turn age 65.
* Not everyone is eligible for Social Security benefits.
You can earn four credits a year, so basically you have to have your own earnings history for 10 years, although it doesn’t have to be consecutive years.
* If your income is more than $25,000 single (or $32,000 married filing jointly) and you’re receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll pay income tax on 50 percent of your Social Security benefits.
However, if your income is more than $34,000 (single) or $44,000 (married filing jointly), you may have to pay income tax on 85 percent of your benefit.
See IRS Publication 915 for more on how to calculate the tax on your benefits.
* If you take Social Security early at age 62, you’ll not only limit your own benefit, but those of your spouse, too (assuming both of you are eligible using one spouse’s earnings history).
* If you are working, are younger than full retirement age, are earning more than $12,480 (2006), and are taking Social Security benefits, you’ll actually lose $1 for every $2 you earn above $12,480.
In the year when you reach your full retirement age, you’ll lose $1 for every $3 you earn above $33,240 (2006).
At full retirement age, you can work and not lose any of your benefits (although if you keep working to age 70, you’ll get even higher benefits).
* If you are divorced and receiving benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings history, your benefits stop if you remarry.
* If you go to prison, your benefits stop (although your dependents can collect their benefits).
* You can continue to collect Social Security benefits even if you retire abroad unless you live in Cuba or North Korea.
Social Security was never intended to cover all of your retirement needs.

But it can play an important role in your retirement income, and it’s to your benefit to understand the rules.

Social Security Tips and Traps (ThirdAge)

No matter what age you are now, you probably think about Social Security benefits as they relate to your retirement planning. If you are younger, you may choose to run retirement projections with reduced or no benefits.

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Social Security Tips

Social Security Tips
No matter what age you are now, you probably think about Social Security benefits as they relate to your retirement planning.
If you are younger, you may choose to run retirement projections with reduced or no benefits.
For those of you who are middle-aged to retirement-aged, Social Security will probably be a piece of your retirement picture.
Lots of questions arise about Social Security as individuals go through many of life’s changes including divorce, phasing into retirement, or dealing with the death of a spouse.
Use these tips and to educate yourself about your options.
* When you get your annual estimate of Social Security benefits, check to make sure your earnings history is accurate.
Everyone age 25 and older should be receiving an annual statement.
If you suspect something is wrong, contact your local Social Security office to correct any inaccuracies.
* If both spouses work, each is entitled to a benefit based on his or her own earnings history.
However, the spouse with lower benefits is entitled to the greater of 50 percent of his or her spouse’s benefit or his or her own benefit.
* If you did an analysis showing that taking lower benefits at age 62 broke even with waiting to take higher benefits at age 65, that break-even age would be approximately 78.
So, if you think you’ll live past age 78, you may want to wait until full retirement age to start taking benefits.
Of course, no one knows just how long they’ll live, so look at your family health history and your own health situation to make a realistic guess.
* You can choose direct deposits at your bank for your Social Security benefits and never have to worry about a check getting lost in the mail.
* If your spouse has a pension from his or her former employer that will pay over his or her life only, delay taking Social Security so you’ll get the maximum benefit for your own lifetime.
* If you are divorced and your ex-spouse has remarried, both you and the new spouse can collect benefits based on the ex-spouse’s earnings history provided you were married at least 10 years and you apply for benefits after age 62.
* If you are still working late in life, delay taking benefits until age 70.
Social Security will pay a premium above the full benefit if you wait until age 70 to take benefits.

Social Security Tips and Traps (ThirdAge)

No matter what age you are now, you probably think about Social Security benefits as they relate to your retirement planning. If you are younger, you may choose to run retirement projections with reduced or no benefits.

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