Essential Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning

There are several steps you can take in planning retirement in these troubled times. Many people have been unemployed or taken pay cuts, plus prices on gas and food continue to rise. Retirement planning is something that needs to be started when you're young.

If you are near retirement age, there are many things to consider before you retire, so that you can enjoy life afterwords. There are many financial health calculators online which will help show you the big picture. Strive to pay off all credit card debt, and if possible pay off your home. The less debt you have at retirement, the easier it is to manage if you should have some medical problems or other unexpected financial burdens.

Retiring Couple

Rainy Day source Bing smithdo
Rainy Day source Bing smithdo

Plan Ahead

One item that has affected our retirement was something that is usually not mentioned in planning for retirement, but it is very important to maintain good health. Health problems are very expensive to treat and even if you're on Medicare, the future of this program is a bit uncertain. Of course, you also purchase supplemental insurance which helps, but if you can take some steps to change your lifestyle when you're younger and prevent health problems that certainly puts you ahead of the crowd.

Obviously not smoking is a no-brainer, as it puts you at risk for multiple diseases. Building up your bank account and neglecting your health doesn't work well long term, as even if you have the wealth you may not be well enough to enjoy life. Eating healthy might cost a little more money now, but it is worthwhile to have a healthy body. Also, get an occasional physical, even if you don't feel ill, as a simple problem might be found and healed because it is found early.

Pay High Interest Credit Cards First

Usually the best way to save money is to take at least 10% of your income and have it put into a savings account on payday. If you do this each paycheck you will be surprised at how quickly your savings account will grow, however, do not save money if you are paying off high interest credit card debt. It is smart pay off high interest debt first, particularly when the savings account interest rate is so low. When your debt is paid, try to stay debt free and focus on the savings.

Saving Money

Source

401Ks, IRAs, Roths, Equities

Saving money in a 401(k) plan has great benefits because it defers taxes and quite often your employer will match some of the money you save. If you don't have an employer that will match your money it makes the 401(k) plan less attractive. Also, some plans have very high fees and you want to avoid them because deferring the taxes will benefit you less if you are paying a 1.5% annual expense fee. There is also the option of IRAs or a tax efficient index fund. It is important to consider how much you will be withdrawing from your 401(k) when you're retired as large amounts will be taxed and it could put you in a higher income tax bracket, depending on pension funds and other money.

Another savings possibility is in equities held outside of the retirement accounts which can be taxed at the long-term capital gains rate of just 15%, even for people in the highest tax bracket. It is important to create a plan to track your progress.

401K Stock Plan

source elcosh
source elcosh

Manage your Money

I think it is hard for most of us to save money today because we live in a society of instant gratification and we really don't want to live below our means. Of course this means we have to accept the idea of living with delayed gratification. It is ideal if you can save the money up first before a new purchase and then you won't have debt if possible. We had to make a couple of purchases of appliances and used a 0% store credit card with a year to pay, then we make monthly payments so that the item is paid off well before interest would began.

Another thing that you might be able to do is to look into refinancing your home with a 10 or 15 year mortgage if you now have a 30 year mortgage, assuming you can get a much better credit rate. Fortunately, we had done just that a few years before my husband had a stroke. When he had the stroke (at 59 years old) we did not owe much on the house and were able to take money from our 401(k) and pay it off; otherwise we would have lost the house. There are not too many things that feel better than living in a house that's pay for it at our age.

Start Retirement Saving While You're Young

Ways to Make Ends Meet

If you are living in a very dire situation you will have to figure out how to live on Social Security payments alone. Sit down with your mate and come up with a plan to live with as there are ways to cut back expenses. Can you use the Internet or services such as Skype to make phone calls and not have a land line? Use generic medications always if possible. Instead of expensive vacations you might take some road trips that are not so far away and will save you money and yet let you enjoy a little travel.

Not all part-time jobs involve tiring hours and little pay. First look at your hobbies and sometimes they can be turned into income makers and this would be something you enjoy. If you like writing, try Hubpages as there is money and friends to be made. Some people start their own blog and do well that way. Other people like to refinish old furniture or fix bicycles; it is simply up to what you enjoy doing

101 Ways to Retire--or Not

In Conclusion

The other option that some people choose is to delay retirement. Many people have dreamed of early retirement, but that is not always possible. Others enjoy their work and do not mind working two or more extra years, which will continue their income, plus their health benefits. Again that is a personal preference.

The earlier you start planning retirement the more money you will have to live on earlier used which will be more comfortable and stress free. Retirement will hopefully be a great time in your life to do all those things in your life that you have not had time for in the past.

© 2011 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 18 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Great advice Pamela, but maybe it's best to just keep working forever.....


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

POP, I wish I could've work longer would've been very helpful I appreciate your comments. You may be right!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Excellent hub! I wish we could save more for retirement but with the way things are for some it is very hard to do.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Susan, I know it is hard for many people. Thanks for your comment.


wendy87 5 years ago

great hub i enjoyed it lot !!! voted up


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Wendy, thanks so much for your comment.


InsureInvest profile image

InsureInvest 5 years ago from India

IT seems it doesn't matter in which part of the world u r, the basic rules of financial planning remain the same.


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

Very Good hub Pamela99. Thanks.Voted up and informative.

Thank goodness I started saving early and paid off my housing.

Keeping good health means: exercise-like walking which is FREE. Also good eating habits-often CHEAPER than the unhealthy meat and packaged food based eating habits. If you just eat vegetarian 2-3 days per week you save money and get healthy. Expensive organic food is not that much healthier and costs a lot more. A person can eat in season, fruit, veggies,beans,rice,corn,tofu for very little per day and get all necessary nutrients.

There are lots of great vegetarian recipies out there.In the USA it may be harder to find good cheap vegetable produce stores. Here in Vancouver, thanks to our large asian population great cheap fruit and vegetable stores are everywhere.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Nice information and very useful for us. I have to prepare for my future retirement. Planning early is very important. Thanks for writing this. Rated up as usual. Have a nice weekend!

Love and peace,


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

InsureInvest, I had not thought about that but I think it is true. Thank you for your comment.

marshacanada, Your suggestions are exactly what I would say about the food and the walking. Thanks so much for sharing your comments.

parsetio, It is good you are young. I appreciate your comments. Love and peace


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

I'm thinking I will never retire, I love working but saving and being prepared for a change in pace and time with grandkids is a whole new need I will def want to enjoy, kinda like being a stay home parent. Saving is a must.

Seeing the many struggles and losses others have faced over the last few years makes me grateful to have many years to build and learn from the losses of others, I feel badly for those who have lost everything. I've learned to be involved and active personally with my portfolio, great tips and thanks for the advice on planning for retirement. :) Katie


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Katie, It's great that you have learned from others woes. Thanks so much for your comments.


Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Good information and ideas here. Voted useful. Thanks for sharing.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Becky, Thanks you so much for your comment.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 5 years ago from Michigan

Just hope we all can make it when it is that time. As long as the government stays out of our way and not take what we have already saved (as was done in the recent past), I think we have something we can build on. v/r


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Support Med, The government is a concern but good planning on your part I'm sure will help. Thanks for your comment.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

We have been retired since 1997 but that is from our full time job. Since then, we have been working as consultants and just enjoying the fact that we are still giving and having fun.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 21 months ago from United States Author

aesta, Retirement really can be fun when you have the time and opportunity to try new things. You sound very happy, and I appreciate your comments.

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