Strategies for Retirement Savings

We want to make sure that we can afford to retire. Saving for retirement takes careful planning and follow-through. There are steps you can take to help ensure your financial future.

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Clearly, the sooner you start saving for retirement the more you will be able to save and the more your money will be able to work for you. It is never too late to start saving. Everything you save can help pay your expenses in the future.

Make your retirement saving deposits obligatory. Treat them as a recurring and necessary expense as you would your mortgage or utility bill. You can make this easier by having the money deducted from your paycheck. If it is deducted on a pre-tax basis it will help lower your income taxes owed on your salary. You can also have your salary direct-deposited and have a specified amount credited to a retirement savings account. The easier you make it on yourself to save the more likely it will happen.

Have your retirement money in a tax-deferred account. Not only will you likely save money in taxes by having it in a tax-deferred account you are also less likely to withdraw it prematurely because of tax consequences and penalties. In addition to saving in an employer-sponsored retirement plan consider whether you are able to participate in an IRA. Discuss with your financial advisor whether it should be a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA.

Diversify your investments. Having a varied portfolio reduces your exposure which can reduce potential loss and increase potential gain. Asset allocation is important. It will consider how aggressive your portfolio should be which will be determined by your age and risk tolerance. It will also be determined by your need for your assets to grow or produce income.

Determine your retirement financial needs by considering all expenses you may incur during retirement. Be sure to include medical and dental costs as well as long-term care and income taxes.

Review your portfolio regularly. Your needs will change with time and your portfolio must change with them.

Review your expenses regularly. Your expenses and your income may have gone up or down. You may be financially responsible for fewer people, loans may have been paid off, your income may have increased or decreased. As your income and expenses change so should the amount you put into savings.

There are many complexities to retirement planning. The strategies above will help you achieve a successful retirement plan. Work with an experienced and qualified financial advisor on your plan, these strategies, and others.