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  • Retirement Planning Tips

  • Hopefully you’ve been diligent about making contributions to your IRA or 401(k) to fund your retirement, but that‘s only half the battle. There are many other things to consider in planning for retirement.

    1. Determine how much money you will need
      If your health remains good, your retirement will probably last for 30 years or more. If you plan to live conservatively, financial experts say you’ll need about 70% of your pre-retirement income to live comfortably. However, if you expect to travel, or enjoy entertainments/expensive hobbies, you may need more.
    2. Factor in how retirement age affects Social Security
      If you draw Social Security benefits at 62, you will only receive 80% of what you would if you waited until your “normal” retirement age of 67. If you wait until age 70, your monthly benefits will be even higher.
    3. Create a written retirement plan
      A written plan provides two critical pieces of information that help you achieve your retirement goals. It shows you:
      • How much money you need to save to maintain your desired lifestyle.
      • How long you will need to work to save the required amount.
    4. Don’t underestimate how long you will live
      You’ve heard it said many times; today’s senior citizens are healthier than any of their predecessors. The average life expectancy rose to 77.9 years in 2005, according to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics. Keep in mind that life expectancies are averages; many of today’s retirees will live considerably longer.
    5. Be realistic about retirement expenses
      Most people are too conservative when calculating their annual expenses in retirement. A retiree in their mid-60s is going to spend about as much in retirement as they did while they were working. There are some categories, like healthcare and travel, where spending may actually increase.
    6. Expect the unexpected — Not having an emergency fund for life’s little surprises is one of the quickest ways to destroy your retirement budget. When you create your retirement plan, build in a financial cushion that can help you get over the rough spots.
    7. Consider rising health care costs
      According to Fidelity Investment’s health care cost estimate, a 65-year-old couple without employer-sponsored health care coverage will spend approximately $230,000 to cover medical costs throughout retirement. This figure rises an average of 6% annually.
    8. Factor in inflation
      When you create your retirement plan, take into consideration that the cost of living in your later years will considerably exceed that of your early retirement years. Plan for that increase so that it doesn’t negatively impact the quality of life in your later retirement years. Most retirement calculators assume an annual inflation rate of about 3%. However, since 1960, the average inflation rate has been about 4.3%, with some periods being even higher.

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