It’s never too early to think about retirement and how to plan for it. The biggest key is to sit down and ask yourself “where would I like to see myself financially during retirement and what kind of plans do I have?” Below are a few steps that can help.
- Set a goal. Analyze your finances and determine how much you could set aside from each paycheck. Do you think you could save $25 a paycheck? It doesn’t matter if the money goes to a 401(k), and IRA, or even your savings accounts, the key is to start saving. Don’t stress yourself out thinking you have to start moving large dollar amounts to savings, start small. Then when you circumstance changes you can make adjustments that are suited to your own particular situation. Maybe you have paid your car off, that means you could keeping making payments but this time make them to your savings or retirement account. Pay yourself now, you’ll thank yourself later!
- Consider opening an IRA. It’s fairly easy to start an IRA and contribute to it. You can choose whether you would like to open a Traditional or Roth IRA each can offer tax savings.
- Does your employer have a retirement plan offered to employees? If they do, be sure you are taking part in this. You can also request an Individual Benefit Statement from the plan administrator or your employer. This shows your total plan benefits and the amount that is vested, or fully owned by you.
- If you employer offers a 401(k), sign up. You can designate a certain portion of your paycheck to be contributed to this account. Most employers will even match your contribution up to a certain limit, so be sure to check with them to find out their match. The elective deferral limit is $18,000 in 2017 and $24,000 if you’re age 50 or older.
- Required minimum distribution (RMD). This is the minimum amount you must withdraw from your account each year. Once you are 70 1/2 you are required to take your RMD. You can withdraw more than the minimum required amount. And your withdrawals will be included in your taxable income except for any part that was taxed before, or that can be received tax-free. https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-required-minimum-distributions-rmds
- Try to estimate your Social Security Benefits. The Social Security Administration offers a calculator that can help your estimate what your Social Security benefits will be in the future. Visit www.ssa.gov to learn more.
- Are your married? Learn about your spouse’s retirement plan and what types of benefits are offered.
These are all great tips and things to keep in mind as you start to plan. As you start planning you may realize you have more questions than answers, and that’s ok. This may just be the point where you need to visit your accountant or financial advisor.