How to Plan for Retirement - SafeMoney.com

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In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of being prepared for retirement. Of course preparation is different for everyone. For one, women will have different retirement needs and goals than men.

It also depends on what employment capacity you’re in. If you’re employed by a large company, for instance, you may have a retirement pension plan via your employer (though these sorts of perks from employers are disappearing). But what about planning for retirement if you’re self-employed?

According to various data sources, there are roughly 10 million self-employed Americans – from business owners and independent contributors to freelancing professionals. In a recent TD Ameritrade survey, around 55% reported they’re behind on retirement savings. On the whole, baby boomers have an average windfall of being $335,000 down from their retirement savings objective.

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In the past, we’ve discussed how not planning for retirement comes with downsides. But what if you’re just a few years from retirement? Or what if you and your partner already are retired?

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Retirement security continues to be a pressing concern for Americans. But many people aren’t taking steps to prepare themselves. In late May 2015, The “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014,” published by the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, offered many concerning insights into this landscape. 

In the study, 31% had no retirement savings or defined-benefit pension. It was reported 39% of those surveyed have “given little or no thought to financial planning for retirement.” Moreover, these trends were somewhat reflected in people’s expectations for the future. The study showed 26% said their retirement plan consisted of working as long as possible. Likewise, 12% said they never planned to retire, and 45% reported they would work somewhat to keep money coming in.

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Today's economic conditions remain uncertain, and it 's having a tremendous impact on how Americans foresee the future. In a nationwide public opinion report from the National Institute on Retirement Security, many Americans were found to be anxious about their retirement. Among those surveyed, 86 percent indicated they believe America is facing a looming retirement crisis. And in addition, 75 percent said they are concerned about their capability for achieving a secure retirement.

Given present circumstances, it's easy to understand these fears. Many people worry about whether they will have enough money in their retirement years. It could be for paying medical expenses, maintaining a certain lifestyle, or covering costs of daily living. Much of the retiree community is thinking about how much money they will be able to leave to their loved ones, as well.

However, a secure financial future needn't be filled with worry.

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5 Steps to Building an Effective Retirement Plan

As we approach retirement, we face many decisions. Many of these decision-points revolve around future financial life. Retirement income planning – or creating a plan to cover expenses and retirement uncertainty – is an essential step.

But everyone has different income needs, and they vary in their readiness for retirement. Plus today’s retirement landscape is far different than what our parents and grandparents dealt with. In the past, a steady pension from an employer, dependable income from Social Security, and a small fund of retirement savings was standard fare. Now those days are largely a distant memory for most Americans.

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3 Reasons to Focus on Income over Assets in Retirement Planning

What is the more important marker in retirement planning: income or assets? This is an important question for retirees. After all, retirement can last for 30 years or longer – it isn’t a time to make mistakes. Inferior planning may lead to income gaps or other unnecessary financial complications.

In past discussion, we have noted how income planning differs from investment planning – especially with its focus on monthly income. Retirement is a phase of “distribution,” or where we draw on a nest egg for income. It’s different from the working years, when we are accumulating assets and can “refill the bucket” with employment income, should we incur investment losses. Seniors don’t have this luxury during their retirement years. For this reason, among others, retirement income arguably should be the primary focus.

Here’s a look at some reasons why income should be a planning priority – and why you may want to account for this in your planning, as well.

Why Should Income be Prioritized over Assets in Retirement Planning?

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