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What is Retirement?

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Retirement is the point in a person’s life when they stop working and start living off their savings. It’s when you can enjoy yourself, travel, spend time with family and friends, or relax. Many types of retirement plans can help you save for this important milestone in your life.

Some retire early–before age 65, and some keep working past 65 or even 70 years old (or more!). Retirement doesn’t have an exact definition; it depends on what works best for each individual person’s situation.

How Much Should You Save for Retirement?

To determine how much you should save for retirement, it’s important to define your goals and then calculate the money needed to achieve them.

Defining Your Retirement Goals: Your first step should be to figure out what kind of lifestyle you want in retirement. Are there any specific purchases or experiences that are top priorities? Do you want to travel extensively or stay close to home? Do you want a smaller house with fewer amenities or an extravagant mansion with all the bells and whistles? The more specific these details are, the better–and easier–it will be for us (and our calculator) later on!

Calculating Your Retirement Savings Needs: Once we know what kind of lifestyle our client wants in retirement, we can use their current income along with some basic assumptions about inflation rates over time (based on historical averages), life expectancy after age 65 (also based on historical averages), Social Security benefits received during retirement years, etc., along with other factors such as state tax rates where applicable; this helps us determine how much money needs saving upfront before reaching age 65 so as not only cover living expenses but also provide enough savings cushion against unexpected medical expenses during this period which could otherwise derail their plans entirely! 

Retirement Accounts and Tax Benefits

Retirement accounts are a great way to save for retirement. There are many retirement accounts, each with tax benefits and contribution limits.

The most common types of retirement accounts include:

Traditional IRA – Contributions are tax-deductible, but withdrawals will be taxed as ordinary income when you start taking money out in retirement. You can also withdraw money without penalty before age 59 1/2 if you use it to buy your first home or pay medical expenses that exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Roth IRA – Contributions aren’t deductible on your taxes, but they grow tax-free and withdrawals are never taxed as long as they’re made after age 59 1/2 or if you qualify due to death or disability. You can withdraw contributions at any time without penalty; however, earnings may be subject to early withdrawal penalties if taken before age 59 1/2 or after five years from the end of each calendar year in which those earnings were deposited into the account.

Retirement Planning Tips

Start early. The sooner you start saving for retirement, the more time your money has to grow.

Increase your contributions. If possible, increase your contribution rate every year by 1% or 2%. This will help ensure that your nest egg grows steadily over time and allows for inflation adjustments in future years.

Track progress regularly–and use a retirement calculator! It’s important to check in on how much money accumulates in each account so that you can make adjustments if necessary (or celebrate when things are going well). A good way to track this information is through an online tool like Personal Capital’s free Retirement Planner tool or another online retirement calculator such as TIAA-CREF’s Retirement Income Calculator.

Retirement Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Not starting early enough. If you’re in your 20s, 30s, or even 40s and haven’t started saving for retirement, you’re already behind the eight ball. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the more money you’ll have when it’s time to retire–and that means more options for how much income your nest egg can generate each month and less stress about whether or not there will be enough money coming in.

Not diversifying. One of the biggest mistakes people make when investing is assuming that all stocks are created equal: They aren’t! Different types of stocks behave differently under different market conditions (like recessions), so it’s important to diversify across multiple sectors if possible–or at least within one sector if not–to reduce risk while still getting some exposure to growth opportunities over time (which is especially important during downturns).  

Taking on too much risk. There’s no point in taking risks if those risks don’t pay off; however, there also isn’t any point in avoiding them either because doing so means missing out on potential returns from investments with higher volatility but better performance potential than safer alternatives like bonds or cash equivalents like CDs/Treasury bills. 

Financial Planning for Retirement

You can start by creating a budget. A good place to start is by listing all your monthly expenses and then prioritizing them based on what’s most important to you. For example, if food is necessary and clothing is not, food should be at the top of your list. Next, create an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses–this will help ensure that if something unexpected happens (like losing your job), it won’t derail your retirement savings plans.

Next comes debt repayment; this should include any student loans or credit card balances weighing down on you financially. Make extra payments toward these debts so they’re paid off faster than expected!

Retirement Benefits and Social Security

  • Types of retirement benefits:

Social Security is the most common type of retirement benefit, but there are others. You may be eligible for more than one kind of benefit or even a combination of them. For example, you might receive Social Security and a pension from your employer. Or you’ll be able to get both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

  • Eligibility for social security:

You must have earned enough work credits during your working years to qualify for Social Security benefits when you retire or become disabled before age 65–the exact number depends on when you were born and how long ago it was that your last employer sent us information about your earnings record through our computerized Earnings Suspense File (ESF).

Managing Retirement Income

Retirement income planning is an important part of retirement savings and can be difficult. You’ll start by creating a budget that includes all your expenses related to healthcare and other long-term care costs.

If you’re already retired or nearing retirement age, try using this calculator from Fidelity Investments: 

Fidelity Calculator

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