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The Most Important Things You Should Know about Retirement

Every hardworking person has retirement in mind. You work so hard in your youth with the hope that your later days will be as comfortable as your present or even better.

Over the years, the retirement age has changed. Legally, the average retirement age in most countries is still between 60 and 65 years, but that has not stopped people from retiring at 50 or below. Of course, waiting until you hit the set retirement age in your State gets you 100% of your Social Security benefits and Medicare. The downside is that you spend more time working and less enjoying your retirement.

How Do You Ideally Plan Your Retirement?

Retirement planning needs a lot of thought as you do not want to get off work before you have set aside enough money to sustain your livelihood. Considering that you will no longer have your current annual income, you will need to start planning early enough.

  • Start Early

Youth is wasted on the young, and so is money. Tell a 25 year only today that they need to start planning for their retirement and you will be met with an ‘are you insane?’ look. When it comes to retirement planning, no one is too young to start. Actually, if you are over 25, then you made it to the other side. Open a 401k account and start setting aside some income to supplement your Social Security.

One other benefit of 401kk is that your employer kicks in some amount and so your monthly total will be higher. You can also count on compounded interest and tax deferral that will have made a vast difference by the time you are 40.

  • How Much Do You Need For Retirement?

It is not so surprising that half of the American working force does not know how much they need for retirement. Matter of fact, research by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that your average working household has virtually no retirement savings. The findings were primarily based on 401k account balances and total retirement assets of the participants.

Without knowledge of how much you need to retire, you will not have a basis for saving. The rule of thumb is that you will need 80% of your current annual income during retirement. However, the better thing would be to use a retirement calculator to figure how much you would need to set aside per month. These calculators take into account your preferred retirement age, your actual assets, the accumulated amount in your 401k and IRA’s account, the equity you are going to draw from your home, and the amount that is going to come from social security. Taxes are usually not included. And so your actual income will be less. With this knowledge, you can set a per-month target and start working towards it.

  • Step Up The Care Package

We all know that age brings disease and general weakness of the body. Unless you are Ernestine Shepherd, your body will need more money for healthcare than it will for food. It would be wise to revamp the healthcare kitty so that you are catered for even when you exhaust the State-covered medical benefit. In the event that you will need personal care (which most people do after 90), your family will not struggle to raise funds.

Whatever you do, do not touch your retirement kitty. Not even on a rainy day. Also, take note of the changing inflation rates and update your retirement planning accordingly.

How To Sustain Your Retirement

The first years of retirement are going to be spent making up for all the hours of hard work. Retirees are  stocked at the idea of having time on their hands that they spend most of it traveling, meeting other retirees, and eating out. Certainly, you will spend much of your money at this stage, which is allowed since you have the energy for it, but you should be keen not to overdo it.

  • Spend Wisely

Do not be tempted to spend more that you had planned. If you can, take some time to decide how much you will spend during the first, say, five years. Plan your trips well in advance so that you can benefit from early-bird bids, and choose your accommodation wisely.

  • Sweat The Small Stuff

The economy will not remain the same, and so it is ideal that you factor in inflation and taxes even as you inch closer to retirement. As you spend, think the 4% rule. You do not want to outlive your retirement kitty, and as such, it helps to be conscious of each withdrawal that you make against your portfolio. You should have your financier work out a withdrawal limit to minimize chances of spending more that your plan can sustain.

You Have Done The Work! Now Enjoy Your Retirement

You have done well and saved for the eventualities, and now it is time to live your retired life. Since you have put a good amount aside, and you aware of how much you should spend per year to live the rest of your time comfortably, you can now kick back and enjoy a little.

  • Travel World Over

If you have always wished to travel, but you haven’t had the time from your busy schedule, you can now explore the world. I would not mind gazing at the stars in the sandy beaches of Jamaica by night and kite surfing during the day if my health allowed it. A cruise to the Caribbean would not only be good for your health, but also for your pocket with all the duty-free shopping. Surprisingly, these Caribbean cruises are not too out of reach. A 2-night Caribbean cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, could cost the two of you about $600!

 

  • Stay Active

An active body harbors an active mind and keeps diseases at bay. At this point in your life, joining a club not only benefits your body, but it also helps you meet other people to revamp your social life.

Mentor the Younglings

They could benefit from doing the things you did in your youth to get you the life you have at retirement. When you meet them at the health club, you could help them get started on retirement planning.

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Retirement Planning Mistakes And How You Can Avoid Them

For many people, thinking about retirement inevitably leads to feelings of great anxiety and emotional stress. According to a recent worldwide study, 88% of Malaysian pre-retirees were worried that they lacked sufficient funds to cater for their day-to-day needs after retirement-which clearly proves the state of unpreparedness among some of us.

Regardless of how daunting it seems, you will have to retire one day and face the consequences. This makes retirement planning one of the most critical financial goals in our lives. If you get it wrong, you may find yourself doomed to a life of poverty, dependence and general financial discomfort in your sunset years.

In order to ensure that this does not happen, you need to avoid making some common retirement planning mistakes that people make. Remember that when it comes to your retirement, mistakes can be very costly and you will not get any second chances. Here are seven retirement mistakes and how you can avoid them:

Mistake #1: Failure to formulate a retirement plan

As the common adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. It is imperative that you set your retirement goal, and then formulate a plan of how to attain it. This entails setting financial objectives that are both specific and measurable and then setting in motion a progressive plan to achieve them. Typical issues that you must address as you embark on your retirement planning include making a commitment to saving regularly and setting up of step-by-step action plans that are founded on proven principles and are geared towards financial success. Note that each day that you put off making your retirement plan will be very costly in the long term.

Mistake #2: Having insufficient savings

Every one of us finds saving more money to be a big challenge. We would rather splurge on that luxury sports car or go on an exotic holiday. The choices you make today will certainly have far-reaching implications on the kind of retirement that you will have.
Because of compound interest, making a few seemingly insignificant financial sacrifices can ensure that your life will be comfortable when retirement comes. For example if you saved the money that you spend on that luxury RM10 coffee that you buy daily at 10 percent for 30 years, this will yield a tidy retirement sum of RM600,000 when compounded. In order to save enough money for retirement you must have discipline- but the fruits are well worth the effort.

A useful rule of thumb that you can apply is to ensure that 33 percent (a third) of you salary is set aside for your retirement. Your employee provident fund (EPF) contribution, which comprises of your contribution combined with that of your employer, should account for about 23 percent. The remaining 10 percent can be made up of other personal investments like stocks, unit trusts, private retirement schemes or a mix of investments that yield reasonable and consistent returns with minimal risks.

Mistake #3: Procrastinating

Many people mistakenly think that there will be enough time to plan for their retirement after for instance they buy a home or raise and educate their children. If you are in your twenties, you assume that you still have forty years until retirement, and you put off saving for retirement until you are in your thirties and forties. Unfortunately, that is the time when you have your hands full-when you are paying off your mortgages, trying to clear your car loans or funding your children’s education. Before you know it, you are in your fifties and the time for saving for your retirement is gone.

Time is the most precious asset when it comes to saving for retirement. Consequently, when you delay to get started, you are putting your retirement in great jeopardy. Every delay of six years before you start saving means you will have to save double every month to attain the retirement income that you would have got if you had started on time. Procrastination is a costly and painful mistake since it denies you the advantages of compounding. It is therefore absolutely vital that you start saving now.

Mistake #4: Making a wrong retirement income assumption

A lot of us simply do not know the income levels that we need in order to maintain the same lifestyle that we have now when we retire. Even those people who have an idea will most likely make an incorrect assumption. Making an assumption that is too high will result in setting a retirement goal that appears hard to attain, which will have discouraging effect on the whole process of retirement planning. If it is set too low, this will translate to financial challenges and unfavorable compromises when you retire.

A helpful rule of thumb would be to take two thirds of your last net salary as the income you will need when you retire. But remember that retirees generally spend more money on travel, dining out and entertainment particularly during the early stages of their retirement when they are healthier and have more time. As they get older, the medical bills can escalate. Ensure that you have factored in all the various expenditure elements so that your retirement income assumption is as accurate as possible.

Mistake #5: Ignoring the increase in healthcare costs

People often overlook to include the estimated cost of healthcare when they are calculating their income needs. Planning for the cost of healthcare on top of the normal daily expenses is a huge undertaking. Spending on healthcare is different from other discretionary expenses like entertainment because you have no option but to be treated when you are injured or sick.

Statistics in Malaysia indicate that medical costs are rising by 10 to 15 percent each year-and treating elderly patients for diseases and injuries can be quite expensive. Therefore, having sufficient reserves and a solid medical cover is the best way of ensuring that your retirement is as comfortable as possible. Always make sure that you obtain medical insurance before you get sick. In addition, medical insurance is cheaper when you are younger.

Mistake #6: Failure to make provisions for extended care

It is common knowledge that caring for aging parents requires immense effort, time and money. Due to an increase in life expectancy in Malaysia, more and more people may require extended nursing care in the final stages of their lives. So that you do not inconvenience your family with the burden of caring for you, it is important that you make extra provisions in case you need such facilities as nursing homes, dementia care or even hospice care. The cost of such care facilities may range from RM1, 000 to RM5, 000 each month.

Mistake #7: Failure to revisit and adjust your retirement plan

As you progress through various phases of your life, the different experiences that you undergo may make it necessary to adjust your retirement plan. It is therefore crucial to revisit and update your retirement plan after a number of years to reflect these new realities. For example you may be promoted, your father may require nursing care or you may get a new baby. It is advisable to revisit your retirement after three to five years so that you can make the appropriate adjustments. This ensures that you remain on course for a fulfilling, stress-free retirement.

Conclusion

It is patently clear that a lot of people do not prioritize retirement planning. Instead, they prefer to spend their time and effort researching and planning where they want to go on vacations, how they can buy a new home or how they can finance their children’s education. However, like death and taxes,retirement is inevitable, and it is therefore of utmost importance that you learn how you can secure your retirement plan.

Every single decision you make puts your savings and everything you have worked for in your entire life at risk. It is therefore essential that you learn about these retirement planning mistakes and how to avoid them. As a result, you will hopefully be equipped with the tools you need to effectively and confidently chart the course towards a comfortable and fulfilling retirement.

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Hidden Fees May Be Lurking in Your Company Retirement Plan

Anyway you figure it, Steve Jeffers is a formidable investor. For 18 years now, the Belpre, Ohio, plant manager has been diligently stashing money in the 401(k) plan of his employer, Kraton Polymers. Thanks in part to a generous match by Kraton, the 43-year-old Jeffers has amassed almost $400,000.

Yet Jeffers didn’t have a clue what his 401(k) investments were costing him — (and neither, I wager, do you). A recent AARP study found that more than 80% of 401(k) plan participants were unaware of how much they were paying in fees associated with their company’s retirement savings plan. And what you don’t know, you can’t change.

Mutual fund returns in 401(k) plans are normally reported as net returns, meaning that fees for managing your investments are subtracted from your gains or added to your losses before calculating the annual return. Other costs, such as administrative and record-keeping fees, are often divvied up among plan participants but are not explicitly listed on individual investment statements.

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Save More for Retirement or Live in Poverty

Let me ask you a question. Are you going to retire someday or not? If you answer in the negative, stop reading this article, and go enjoy some ice fishing. If you say yes, why are you behaving as if that day will never come?

When I was in college, I spent an entire 24-hours, at an all-night diner, learning a semester’s worth of history. I passed the class, but not with stellar marks. Procrastination caught up with me, but I was able to soften the blow of neglect, by devoting myself to an intense period of “cramming.”

That is what most retirees-in-waiting think they will be able to do with their savings. They will enjoy life during their young years of employment, and then get real serious as the day of labor-departing draws closer. Wrong!

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