What You Can and Cannot Control as You Plan for Retirement

Some things you have no influence over. You may have some power to affect other factors. Are you worried about retiring? Many baby boomers are, and they have reason to be, given low interest rates, subpar returns on equities, increasing health care costs, and the issues facing Social Security. Now, do yourself a favor. Read that last sentence again, and ask yourself, “which of those four things can I control?” The correct answer: none of them. That may be frightening, but it is also truthful. As you plan for retirement, you must acknowledge that certain factors are beyond your control. As much as you would like to influence or change them, you have no say over them. So, what can you

Things to Consider if You Plan to Retire Before 60

Financially speaking, what moves might you want to make? By choice or by chance, some people wrap up their careers before turning 60. If you sense this will prove true for you, what could you do to potentially make your retirement transition easier? As a start, you may need to withdraw your retirement funds strategically. The I.R.S. wants you to leave your retirement accounts alone until your sixties. To encourage this, it assesses a 10% early withdrawal penalty for most savers who take money out of traditional retirement accounts prior to certain ages. For a traditional IRA, the penalty applies if you withdraw funds prior to age 59½; for a workplace retirement plan, the penalty may apply

Before You Claim Social Security

A few things you may want to think about before filing for benefits. Whether you want to leave work at 62, 67, or 70, claiming the retirement benefits you are entitled to by federal law is no casual decision. You will want to consider a few key factors first. How long do you think you will live? If you have a feeling you will live into your nineties, for example, it may be better to claim later. If you start receiving Social Security benefits at or after Full Retirement Age (which varies from age 66-67 for those born in 1943 or later), your monthly benefit will be larger than if you had claimed at 62. If you file for benefits at FRA or later, chances are you probably a) worked into your mid-

Why Do People Put Off Saving for Retirement?

A lack of money is but one answer. Common wisdom says that you should start saving for retirement as soon as you can. Why do some people wait decades to begin? Nearly everyone can save something. Even small cash savings may be the start of something big if they are invested wisely. Sometimes, the immediate wins out over the distant. To young adults, retirement can seem so far away. Instead of directing X dollars a month toward some far-off financial objective, why not use it for something here and now, like a payment on a student loan or a car? This is indeed practical, and it may be necessary. Even so, paying yourself first should be as much of a priority as paying today’s bills or payi

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