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August 16, 2014

Do Not Compromise Your Retirement Investing Goals

Retirement investment ideasRetirement planning is a serious business and the sooner you get into it, the better. We often tend to procrastinate, thinking that we have enough time left for the same, but this often makes the task tougher than it would otherwise have been. So the question is what exactly is retirement planning, and how important is it for your future?

The process of retirement planning involves determining what kind of funds should be available to you at the time of retirement, to live comfortably post your retirement. There are a lot of factors that you would need to consider like when will you want to retire, where will you live, and what kind of a lifestyle will you have post retirement. Each additional year you want to retire early raises your goal considerably as you need to account for all the regular monthly expenses, medical and emergency expenses, vacations, celebrations etc.

When you see the costs add up after keeping in mind the inflation, this is likely to be your retirement goal and is clearly dependent on the type of life that you wish to lead. You may come across many typical figures that people throw at you regarding a retirement corpus that one should have, for example 20 times your income and so forth, which can be only used as some vague guideline. You must consider some important points to make sure that you are a smart investor when it comes to your retirement investing.

Evaluate the available instruments for retirement savings

There is a host of saving options available in the market when you want to invest for your post retirement days. There are many tax- efficient ways that can help you build up your retiral kitty, some of which can be availed directly through the employers while other plans are available through investment brokers or banks. However, it is important to closely look at each of these options to determine the benefits and derive the maximum profit by using them judiciously, when your aim happens to be a healthy retirement corpus.

There are some good retirement options that you can explore at your employers, as some may offer unmatched benefits and even give some kind of cushioning against the volatile stock market conditions. It is important to understand and evaluate the risk and benefits associated with each of the options. It is often seen that younger investors are more bent on investment options that have higher returns even if they have higher risks as they have enough time available to recover from the losses that may arise. However, in case you do not have too many years before you retire, then it’s best to avoid such options as you may not be able to recover if you lose your investments and will be better off with some conservative instruments with lower risk factors.

The following are some of the options available for planning your retirement:

  • 401 (K) and other Employer Plans: There are several employer driven plans like the 401(K)s that can be utilized by the individuals to build up their retirement kitty while saving a considerable amount of tax too in many cases. They are also quite hassle-free as you can directly get the amount debited from your paycheck.
  • Fixed Benefit Plans: There are many employer sponsored plans that offer a fixed the sum of money based on certain factors like salary drawn and the years of service one has put in at the establishment .
  • IRAs or the Individual Retirement Accounts: These allow you to move pretax amounts up to certain annual limits towards tax efficient investments. These investments can also be tax deferred.
  • Roth IRA: This can be seen as a retirement option that is similar to a traditional IRA though there are certain differences in the taxation of the contributions as well as the distribution income.
  • SEP IRA: This is targeted at the employer or self-employed individuals, and they can direct 100% of their contributions towards various channels of their choice.
  • SIMPLE IRA: this is a commonly used retirement plan by employers with 100 or less employees in that establishment.
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May 31, 2012

Which Plan Should You Choose For Your Retirement?

Are you reaching that point in your life when you have to plan for your retirement? You must not rely on your social security money alone for covering all the expenses after your retirement. Not having a proper retirement plan will lead to a bad situation after your retirement and that is something that you must avoid. Here are 4 retirement plans that you can consider and choose from.

1. The 401(K) Plan

This is one of the most popular plans that employers use to secure their employee’s retirement. According to this plan, you must match your employer’s contribution to the plan (which oscillates between 1% and 6% of the payment) to take full advantage of the plan. Plan your investment properly so that you can take full advantage of it after retirement. Failing to match your employer’s contribution will make the investment in this retirement plan redundant. There are many other flexible investment plans for helping you with your contribution to the retirement plan. Choose one that you can afford.

2. Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA

Many small time employers secure their employee’s retirement using this plan instead of the 401(K) plan. The only difference between these two plans is the fact that this plan has no maintenance fee as such from the employer’s side and thus is a popular choice with most small time employers. The contribution that the employee is supposed to make to this plan is deducted automatically from the pay check.

3. Traditional IRA (Individual Plan)

It is always advised that you should maintain an individual retirement plan along with the employer’s retirement plan that is already in place. The contribution that you can make to this plan is limitless and depends on your personal financial abilities completely. The contribution eligibility is set at $5,000, plus $1,000 catch up for those over 50 years old, but not per account.

4. Roth IRA (Individual Plan)

This plan is similar to the Traditional IRA plan with the same limit and eligibility criterions. The only difference is the fact that the contributions you will make to this plan is not income tax deductible.

In case you find out that you are ineligible for the IRA individual plans, you can always set up an annuity fund. The tax benefits are lower than the tax benefits one gets with the IRA funds and also the contribution fees are higher than usual. These shouldn’t deter you from having a solid retirement plan in the first place.

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May 18, 2012

The Cost of Mis Sold Investments

Many ordinary people have recently discovered that they may not have the nest egg that they’d planned for in their retirement. Having put away regular monthly installments into investments and other savings plans, people have now discovered that these investments could be worth a lot less than they’d been led to believe. Mis sold investments are likely to cause a lot of heartache
and financial difficulty in the years to come, as people have to come to terms with the fact that they might not have sufficient money for their retirement and they could well have to rethink their plans for the forthcoming years.

With the issue of mis sold investments now coming to the fore, there is some hope for people who were given inaccurate information when they signed up to long-term investment plans. Compensation claims are being investigated and there is at least some hope of recompense for those who genuinely took out investments based on misleading information. Many people put away regular savings for their retirement, or as a means of paying off their mortgage or saving a nest egg for retirement. Without in-depth personal financial knowledge, people will have relied upon the advice offered by financial advisers, banks and other institutions in order to come to a decision about which investments to choose.

It is because this advice was – in certain circumstances – ill thought-out, or the specific investment inappropriate for the circumstances of the individual at the time, that a mis sold investment bond, or other investment product, will now come under scrutiny. It is hoped that genuine cases of mis sold investments will now be rectified to a certain extent, as individuals can make a claim for
compensation and hope to recoup their losses.

Many people will have been relying on the expected return on their investment in order to fund their retirement. The knowledge that this pot of money might no longer be available can put huge financial and emotional stress on an individual or a couple and this also needs to be taken into consideration. The situation needs to be rectified, not only on behalf of the customers who have
been mis sold investments, but also in order to ensure that financial institutions and individual advisers are seen to be held to account for any inaccurate or misleading information that they have given to customers in the past regarding the investment of their money.

With the issue of mis sold investment now out in the open, it is hoped that the message is getting through and that anyone who believes they have been misled will be able to come forward and receive more information about their investment and whether they might potentially have grounds for a claim with regards to their product. When a lifetime of savings could potentially be at stake, it’s imperative that people are now given the opportunity to check up on their finances and to have some peace of mind that their money is safe and their retirement fund will be sufficient for their needs over the years.

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May 3, 2012

5 ways to save for retirement

Saving for your retirement can seem like a daunting task for most folks today, but it is something that should be every working person’s goal and ultimate aspiration. Despite the seemingly impossible task of saving up for your own retirement, especially at the last moment, there are little ways that you can consider that can bring you closer to your goal of saving for retirement, without having to work like a mule. Here are a few tips on how to increase your retirement savings:

Downgrade – Simple living is best

Living on the edge of their means is one of the reasons why a lot of individuals find it difficult to save up for retirement. It is quite common now-a-days to find people that are living well beyond their means. People who are in a situation like this are wasting money that could potentially be saved and used for their retirement schemes. Contrary to what people say, living simply is not something to be ashamed about – so if you’re looking for a fast way to save more for your retirement, then consider downgrading your living expenses is one great way to go about it.

Invest

Try investing in businesses or other secure means, this can increase your overall income and is another great way to save up for retirement money quicker. Not all investments promise a good or profitable turn-over in the end, so choose businesses that you want to invest in wisely. Businesses that have a strong long term grow potential are good, so are businesses that cater to the masses have the best chances of providing you with a steady profit.

Pension offers are opportunities

If the company you’re working for offers retirement benefits or saving pools, consider chipping in a little of your income into it. A little goes a long way. Pensions and benefits are also a great means to help out with your retirement savings goals. Availing of healthcare and pensions can add to your savings by cutting down on the need to look for more money. Because these types of benefits can be earned while you’re still in working prime, you can be sure that you’ll have a substantial amount by the time you do decide to call it quits and put your feet up.

Prioritize

If you want to meet a specific amount of money to realize your retirement dreams, then you really have to prioritize for it. Coming up with a viable sum that is more than what you’d expect to spend for the duration of your retirement and beyond, should be the main outline of any savings schemes. It is wise to plan ahead in order to set priorities, but it is also important to set a goal beyond the expected amount that you think would need for a comfortable retirement.

Pooling all of the profits from the above mentioned tips should provide you with enough provender to retire in comfort or at least meet you basic needs, given that you don’t expect anything extremely extravagant or opulent. Investing and not spending beyond your means is the key to a successful savings and retirement plans.

Planning for a retirement needn’t be stressful or difficult. Everything can be planned out and achieved with good old fashioned hard work, determination, and foresight. Utilizing holistic tips like these as part of your overall retirement plan will definitely help to improve your financial situation now, and will also ensure that you will have more savings available for when you are finally ready to retire.

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March 20, 2012

5 Reasons to Start Saving for Retirement in your 20’s

If you are like most young adults, you are just starting out your professional career in your twenties. You may be considering how to get your career off to a great start and how to advance it so you can reach professional goals and aspirations. The last thing on your mind may be reaching the end of your career and retiring. Yet there are many reasons why young adults in their twenties should start saving today for retirement.

Increased Savings Over Time

There are so many stories today about people in their 40s and 50s who haven’t saved a penny for retirement. These are individuals who are forced to save large sums of money each month to make up for the last few decades that they did not save regularly. Saving smaller amounts over a longer period of time is easier on your budget than trying to save large sums of money later in life.

Maximizing Employer-Matching Contributions

If your employer has an employer-matching program in place, not taking advantage of that program is like throwing free money away. With these programs, your employer will match the amount of money you contribute to a retirement program up to a certain percentage.

Depending on your salary and the program your employer has in place, this may equate to hundreds and often thousands of dollars over the course of a year. Over time, this can add up to a very sizable amount of money. The longer you participate in such a program, the maximum your benefit will be from it.

Compound Growth

You may choose to save your money in an interest-bearing savings account, in mutual funds, in high-yield dividend stocks, or a mix of all of these. These options all provide growth opportunities for your money over time.

Through the benefits of compound growth on interest and dividend reinvestment programs, your money saved today will grow much faster over time than money invested at the age of 50. Saving early not only provides you with the opportunity to save money, but also for your money to grow more.

Fewer Financial Commitments

Many young adults think they will have more money to spend and save later in their working careers, and so they delay contributing to a retirement program or saving for the future. Young adults often do have credit card debt and student loans.

In your later years, though, you may have even greater expenses such as a home mortgage, the expense of children, and more. It is not uncommon for a person’s expenses to grow as their income grows. So getting in the habit of saving now is advantageous over delaying your savings efforts.

Improved Financial Security

Having money in a retirement account, in a savings account, in the stock market, and more improves your financial security. While there may be penalties for withdrawing money early from a retirement account, these are funds that can be used if you lose a job or face some other financial crisis.

Further, the recent economic crisis has taught us that it is best to save early and regularly. Many people in recent years were forced to delay their retirement plans until the recession ended, and this is particularly true of those who had counted on the stock market to grow at a steady rate as part of their retirement planning. When you save early and diversify your savings, you have a larger buffer against economic fluctuations.

There are many reasons why you should start saving early. Take time today to review your budget and establish a plan to save regularly each month.

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