Steps for a Financially Secure Retirement

One of the biggest concerns for people entering retirement is whether they will be financially secure, and many think that it is impossible to save enough given a limited income and never ending expenses. However, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that you will have a more financially secure retirement. The most important aspect of planning is to focus on what you can control, and not the unknown.

Steps for Financial Security

By starting early, saving the right amount, and investing wisely you can be financially secure in your retirement. The following steps can allow you to focus on the most important parts of your retirement savings plan.

Save the Right Amount
All in all, you should save between ten and thirteen percent of your gross income for retirement and that amount includes any employer matching. So for example, if your employer matches two percent of your income, you should be saving eight to twelve percent.

Cut Down on Spending
Try to cut down on unnecessary expenses in your daily life, and save that money for retirement. Cut things that do not mean much to you or that have cheaper alternatives. One way to accomplish this is by creating a line-item expenditure list and cut back item by item.

Invest Wisely
Assess your tolerance for risk in the market, and invest your funds appropriately. Most people believe that as you age your investment choices should become more conservative, but you can invest in whatever way fits your lifestyle best. A financial planner or estate planning attorney can help you assess your risk tolerance.

Take Advantage of Tax-Deferred Accounts
Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and other accounts are all tax-deferred and not subject to income tax like a normal IRA account. By maximizing your contributions now, you can defer more income taxes and save that money for retirement.

Evaluate Healthcare Coverage and Medical Services
Healthcare coverage and medical services are of utmost importance after retirement. It is important that you do your research and evaluate all of your options for care. This includes the cost of Medicare, qualifying for Medicaid, and any long-term care insurance policies. Even once you do qualify for Medicare, you will probably need a supplemental policy to cover what it does not.

Research Housing Options
Deciding where to live in retirement is one of the biggest decisions that you will make. Most people like to retire in their home because of family and community ties. However, you may save money if you move to a state where it is less expensive. Cost of living, property costs, taxes, and other expenses differ from state to state so it can be worth it to do some research if you are willing to move.

Even if you do not want to move out of state, you may want to consider downsizing your home to something smaller. You can cut down on property costs and utilities while still staying in the same community. Retirement communities also provide a third option for housing once you are retired.

Think about Social Security
Finally, consider when you want to start taking Social Security in retirement. The age that you start to take Social Security can drastically affect the amount that you receive as well as how you are taxed. You can start taking Social Security anytime between the ages of 62 and 70 years old, but full retirement age is considered 66 years. If you can hold off taking Social Security, you can receive much more in the long run.

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