Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Guide to Secure your Retirement

There are several meanings that people might put to the term "retiring comfortably". You might plan on hopping around the globe, or obtaining a dream 'castle' in a faraway land, or lazing around in a tropical destination.

Despite these romantic scenarios, you still have to listen to your practical side. See if you can afford the standard of living that you want in your leisure years.

Whether you want to live abroad or stay in the country during retirement, you would not want to worry about finances, so it is better to plan ahead.

Secure your finances.

Studies show that most pensions do not make up the difference between what you actually need and what Social Security provides. The key is to build a solid financial plan.

You need about 70% of your income before retirement to live up to the lifestyle that you now have.

Sure, your living expenses might be lowered during your leisure years. But other things that you need to spend on will definitely increase.

Another factor to consider is inflation. Have you ever heard of prices of commodities going down?

In spite of a basically steady economy, costs are sure to rise as you grow older so you need to foresee if you will be able to afford steep prices when you only have your monthly pension to rely on.

Think "Social Security" equals "Retirement Security".

By law, a person is eligible to receive benefits once he turns 62 years old. Age, eligibility, marital status and the amount that you have contributed trough the number of years that you worked will determine exactly how much pension you will receive.

If you decide not to take advantage of the benefits by the time you turn 62, then you will definitely have more once you start withdrawing money from the system.

Check if your pension plans can keep up with growing costs.

When considering your financial situation upon retirement, check on automatic COLA's, also known as cost of living adjustments. These help your pension payments keep up with inflation. See if your pension plans have them, as most plans do not.

Consider your health care options.

Medicare coverage does not always satisfy your health care needs and expenses so you better look into it twice, especially when retiring. One way to do so is by making sure that your employer pays a sufficient amount to supplement Medicare.

By looking into all of the above factors, you will surely be secured upon retirement and once you have all the practical considerations out of the way, you will get to enjoy retirement to the fullest.

Jim Pollard

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