Will you be ready for retirement?


By Steve Obermann - Financial Focus



National Save for Retirement Week is observed Oct. 18-24 this year. And this week has some weight behind it, as it is recognized by the U.S. Senate for its importance in encouraging Americans to prepare themselves financially for retirement. Are you doing all you can?

Many of your peers aren’t. About a third of working adults have no retirement savings or pension, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve. And more than half of workers report that the total value of their household’s savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit plan (such as a traditional pension), is less than $25,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey.

Such figures help explain why many people are unsure if they’ll ever be able to retire. Nearly 40% of the respondents in the Federal Reserve’s study either have no intention to retire or plan to keep working for as long as possible.

Of course, if you enjoy your career, or just simply like to work, you may be in no hurry to retire. But you may want to put yourself in a position someday when work is optional – not mandatory. To reach that point, consider taking these steps:

• Estimate your cost of retirement. At what age do you plan to retire? When you do retire, will you stay home and pursue your hobbies, or will you travel the world? Will you do some consulting or other part-time paid work, or will you volunteer? By answering these and other questions, you can at least estimate your costs during your retirement years.

• Contribute to your 401(k). Contribute as much as you can afford each year to your employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k). At a minimum, put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered. A 401(k) or similar plan is a great way to put money away for retirement, because your earnings can grow on a tax-deferred basis. And you may have a dozen or more investment vehicles within your 401(k), so you can build a portfolio that’s appropriate for your goals and risk tolerance. In 2015, you can contribute up to $18,000 to your 401(k), or $24,000 if you’re 50 or older.

• Fully fund your IRA. Even if you participate in a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan, you’re probably still eligible to contribute to an IRA as well. In 2015, you can contribute up to $5,500 – or $6,500, if you’re 50 or older – to an IRA. A traditional IRA offers tax-deferred earnings, while Roth IRA earnings can grow tax free, provided you don’t start taking withdrawals until you’re 59½ and you’ve had your account at least five years. Plus, you can fund your IRA with virtually any type of investment you choose. Try to “max out” your IRA every year.

• Control your debts. Control your debts as much as possible. Every dollar that doesn’t go into a debt payment could be invested for your retirement.

These aren’t the only steps that can help you move toward a comfortable retirement – but they can certainly help get you on the right path.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor.

By Steve Obermann

Financial Focus

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