Excluding a decision to work all your life or a premature death, retirement will come voluntarily or involuntarily. Social Security payments will not be sufficient to cover all income needs in retirement, especially with the ever-increasing costs of healthcare. And, loans are not available for retirement expenses! Therefore an action plan for financial security must include saving for retirement. Beginning early is ideal but it is never too late to save for your livelihood and enjoyment when the paycheck ends.
We are in the last quarter of the year which means you have less than 3 months to contribute to an employer plan such as the 401(k), 457, 403(b) or the Thrift Saving Plan (TSP). If you are not on track to contribute the maximum allowed this year take inventory of how much you have already saved and stretch your budget to save more. The two-fold benefit of saving for retirement should not be minimized. In addition to providing a future steam of income in retirement, contributions to a retirement plan generally lower taxes on current income and offer a tax credit for some individuals. Of course an employer match is a major benefit perk – free money – that should not be left on the table. Therefore contribute at least the amount that entitles you to the full employer match.
If you are self-employed or a small business owner and responsible for your own retirement there are several plans that enable you to save for your retirement and allow your employees to save for their retirement. See Small Business Retirement Plans.
An individual whose spouse is not employed can fund an individual retirement account (IRA) on behalf of the non-working spouse.
Where there is a will, there is a way to build savings for financial security. Other ways to save for retirement include savings accounts at financial institutions, life insurance, annuities and investments.
The amount of money you will need for retirement needs to be determined so you will have a benchmark for your savings. The Choose to Save® Program has created a two-page worksheet, The Ballpark E$timate, that calculates approximately how much you will need to save for retirement (http://choosetosave.org/ballpark/). Do not let the amount overwhelm you or deter you from beginning to save for retirement or increase your retirement savings. Remember, you want peace of mind as you approach retirement and you want to enjoy your retirement, which means not returning to work out of necessity. Save for peace of mind and security!
National Save for Retirement Week will be celebrated October 20-26, 2013.