Editors Blog

Are You Really Ready for Retirement?

May 10, 2012

I read an online article at www.cnn.com the other day that is both troubling and and yet somewhat understandable these days. The article, “49% of Americans Saving Zilch for Retirement” is based on a survey conducted by LIMRA, a financial services industry association.

According to the survey, 56 percent of 18-34 year olds don’t contribute at all to a retire plan. Yet, “In order to have the adequate savings necessary to meet their [people ages 18 to 34] financial needs in retirement — which could last 20 or more years — it is critical that these individuals begin saving systematically early in their working years,” said Matthew Drinkwater, associate managing director at LIMRA’s retirement research division.

So if you fall into that age range, it’s time to look at what you are doing to prepare for retirement. And if you’re not doing anything, now’s the time to start. If you’re no longer in that age group, then it’s even more imperative that you start preparing for retirement immediately.

To get the ball rolling, below are 10 tips to prepare for retirement from the U.S. Department of Labor. We probably all have heard at least some of these tips before, but it may help to review them, anyway, and get our financial motor revved up to take action.

  • Start saving, keep saving, and stick to your goals.
  • Know your retirement needs.
  • Contribute to your employer’s retirement savings plan.
  • Learn about your employer’s pension plan.
  • Consider basic investment principles.
  • Don’t touch your retirement savings.
  • Ask your employer to start a plan.
  • Put money into an Individual Retirement Account.
  • Find out about your Social Security benefits.
  • Ask questions [such as from your employer, union, or financial advisor].

For those of you who own a company and don’t plan to retire, you have the option to stay working as long as you want. That’s great, but do keep in mind that even if you don’t retire, saving money for your later years is still a good idea. Unexpected expenses can come up for anyone. You might need that money for something else (like paying to take care of an ailing spouse).

And for those business owners who do plan to retire, now may be a good time to prepare your business’s succession plan while you prepare for your own retirement.

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