Retirement is a frightening time for many if they have not properly prepared financially. Leading up to retirement, it helps to regularly consult with a financial adviser to understand exactly what is needed. To maintain your lifestyle, careful planning and preparation is required. There are several key questions to ask in preparation.
Planning for Retirement
Planning for retirement is one of the great financial challenges in life. Financial advisers guide you through this process and help to calculate your needs. In general, the best time to start is now because of the power of compounding interest over time. Even those just starting their careers, in their 20s, can begin to discuss retirement plans with their financial adviser. Younger individuals can begin by contributing less on a monthly basis but earn a greater retirement balance by making regular payments.
The Employer Connection
Employers often have programs to support employees in their retirement savings. Ask your financial adviser how best to take advantage of these programs. For example, many employers match retirement saving contributions up to a certain level, such as 5 percent of salary. Ask your adviser whether to use a 401(k), IRA or Roth IRA for retirement savings. If you have a pension and insurance coverage into retirement, make sure to provide the information for your adviser to analyze and calculate for you.
Ask your adviser what government benefits will be available to you in retirement. Of course, Social Security and Medicare are the two most important programs. Because of federal government budget issues, these benefits might be affected in the future. However, each state has supplemental programs for retirees. If you fear that you will run out of money, their are local programs to help. For example, New York City has a program that provides low-cost fresh fruits and vegetables to seniors.
Ask your financial adviser about the total amount that you need to save. The calculation assumes how much you will need after retirement, government or pension benefits and any investment gains that you can count on from stocks and bonds. Stock market returns are historically very difficult to project. Although the long-term direction of the stock market has been up, during the first decade of the 21st century there were essentially no net gains in the market.
Kathy Zheng is a personal financial planner. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics and is certified as a level 1 financial adviser.