Personal Financial Planning – Retirement Planning

Advances in medical science have resulted in people living longer. This increase in life expectancy makes retirement planning even more crucial. Furthermore, with better affluence, there is also an increase in demand for a better lifestyle during retirement.

The objective of retirement planning varies depending on circumstances, and normally includes:

  • Maintaining a self sufficient pre-retirement standard of living
  • Coping with increasing health care cost
  • Protection of property and against personal liability
  • Providing for dependents
  • Estate planning

The process for retirement planning:

Step 1: Overcome Obstacles
Step 2: Determine Goals
Step 3: Measurement
Step 4: Reference Point
Step 5: Overall Plan

Overcoming The Road Blocks

There is only a limited period of accumulation and a continuous period of consumption. The first step is to overcome the many obstacles hindering retirement planning. These include spending beyond means, unprepared for unexpected expenses (like repairs), inadequate insurance (like property loss, medical bills), tapping into retirement funds for other purposes (like upgrading house, holidays), etc.

(1) Aim to save at least 10% of income and gradually increase it to 20% when it is nearer to retirement. This accumulates towards the retirement funds and helps to accustom to a retirement lifestyle within financial means.

(2) Establish an emergency fund of at least 6 months of income that is separate from the retirement planning fund. The will be used for risk retention, covering for unexpected expenses without drawing on the retirement funds.

(3) Have sufficient insurance. A major crisis will be a huge drain on all of the savings, it is best to transfer this risk by being adequately covered.

(4) Saving for other specific purposes should be saved for separately. It will derail the retirement plans due to the shortfall.

Determine Retirement Goals

Depending on the circumstances, the goals will vary from individual to individual. Some common areas to consider:

(1) Lifestyle.

  • Housing: Same house, mortgage remaining, upgrade, downgrade, migrate.
  • Leisure: Pursuit of hobbies like golf, yoga, charity or religious activities.
  • Travel: Overseas holidays, car ownership.

(2) Age of retirement.

  • The last day to have to work or the last day to want to work.
  • Early retirement due to corporate issues, health, care giving concerns, etc.

(3) Health.

  • Coping with increasing health care cost.
  • Health screening.
  • Dental care.

(4) Estate planning.

  • Passing on the wealth eventually.

(5) Caring for dependents.

  • Physical or medical care for elderly parents.
  • Providing for children not yet independent or siblings requiring aid.

Measuring The Finance Required

From the above goals, the required amount needs to be quantified.

(1) Lifestyle and dependent expenses. An estimate is about 60% of pre-retirement income.
(2) Project the retirement age. The statutory retirement age is 62 years old.
(3) Health expenses. Total up the amount of insurance premiums and health screening cost.

In addition, some assumptions need to be made:

(1) Inflation rate. The average historical inflation rate in Singapore is about 1.5%.
(2) Investment returns. Depending on the choice of investment, this varies significantly.
(3) Life expectancy. A reference will be the natural death ages of great-grandparents, grandparents or parents. The average age is 78 for males and 82 for females, and this average is increasing.

Start Your Financial Retirement Planning Now!

With the economy on the decline, retirement may seem impossible. However, if you are concerned about the financial security of your retirement years, you have to be serious about financial retirement planning. Financial retirement planning is the first step to ensure that the lifestyle you’re dreaming of at retirement will have a better chance of becoming a reality.

No matter how old or young you are, it’s never the wrong time to think about financial retirement planning and start a retirement savings plan. However, the earlier you begin the better off you will be. Chances are you will have a larger nest egg at retirement if you begin saving at 30 years of age instead of 60. With more years to invest your investment will have a better chance of recovering from any drops or bump along the way. The longer your money is invested the better your chance of securing your future. By planning for your retirement needs, you’ll identify what you need to do in order to secure your future and be in a better position to deal with most issues that may otherwise confuse you and do damage to you financially.

The first consideration for your retirement savings plan will be where your investment money will go and for how long. As a basic strategy, you should invest some of your money in short term investments, medium-term investments and long term investments. The type of investment usually is determined by your time horizon. Generally, the more time you have before having to sell off the investment for cash, the riskier the investment.

If your time horizon is five or more years, which would be considered long term investments, you can choose investments that appreciate over time. Growth stocks and real estate are good long term investments if you have many years left before retirement. Volatile stocks or CDs are considered short term investments, investments that are held for a year or less, and should be reevaluated several times a year.

Times are different – you can no longer take the retirement planning advice of an investment adviser as gospel when it comes to financial retirement planning. You need to educate yourself and take charge of your money.

If you find planning for your retirement needs a daunting task, there are many retirement planning tools you can turn to for help. These tools include well-written books that can explain the difference between things like bonds and stock, etc. There are also individual classes and seminars that you can take to help you craft your retirement investment plan to reach the goals you set for your retirement.

You don’t want to find out too late that you don’t have enough money to cover your retirement needs. You must educate yourself to gain an understanding of what is possible with the money you invest. Generally, a balanced retirement savings plan should include investments in treasury bills, money market and savings account to provide accessible cash; stocks in small, medium and large companies for growth and appreciation; and other investments such as real estate for long term appreciation.

Your financial retirement planning should take into account the number of years you have left until you plan to retire. The more years you have to invest your money, the more risk you should take with your investment money. If you have only a few years before retiring, you should have more of your investment funds in readily available cash. You don’t want to be at retirement’s door with most of your money tied up in the stock market only to see a big portion of the money disappear in a market downturn, which can happen at any time.

If you do have many years before retirement, aggressive stocks and real estate can be a sound investment. Your nest-egg may growth faster with this investment strategy because the funds are shielded from certain taxes, and because real estate is a good hedge against inflation.

Financial retirement planning is not rocket science. It’s mostly common sense. Besides there are many retirement planning tools that you can use to help you create the best retirement savings plan for you. However, even the best laid out plan needs to be reviewed and adjusted with the circumstances. Review your retirement investment portfolio at lease once a year and make adjustments as warranted. Don’t let short term ups and downs in the market throw you off your path that leads to your goals. Ups and downs in the investment market are part of the normal cycle of investing. Stick to your informed long term plans and the bumps along the way should all even out over the years to provide for your retirement needs.

The Importance of a Good Retirement Savings Plan for Early Retirement Planning

Wouldn’t you like to have an early retirement at 50 or 55 years of age instead of the traditional age of 62 or 65? Even with today’s economy, that dream is possible to achieve. Planning for early retirement is an easy task, especially if you are just starting out in the working world when money is usually tight. Scarifies will have to make and immediate gratifications will have to be deferred. You will need early retirement planning and have a good retirement savings plan that will provide the nest egg you will need for the financial security that is want during your retirement years.

Set Your Goal

An important first step in early retirement planning is to have a goal in mind. If you goal is to retire living the same lifestyle that you are living at the time of your retirement, then you need to figure the annual expenses involved to live that lifestyle and how much income you need to cover those expenses, and multiply that number by the number of years of your life expectancy. Don’t forget to account for inflation and unexpected emergencies such as medical emergencies due to accidents or natural disasters.

You can do this calculation yourself or your can get help on the Internet with free retirement planning tools to make the math easier. If you can afford it, you can hire a professional that provide retirement planning services to help you.

Choosing the Right Retirement Savings Plan

Having the right retirement savings plan will go a long way to getting you to where you financially will be able to retirement. Luckily, there are many different types of retirement plans to choose from. Some of the most popular plans include the Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA), Roth IRA, Keogh plan, and 401(k) plan. All these retirement savings plans offer some tax advantages that help the money invested in them grow faster that if the money was invested outside of the plans.

Don’t overlook some of the more traditional investment vehicles outside of the IRA, Roth, Keogh, and 401(k) plans, such as individual stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to diversify and spread the risk of investing. While the investments may not offer the same tax breaks as the IRAs and 401(k) s, they provide more options for your investment money. Other types of investments you may want to look into include rental real estate and gold coins. But remember not to put all your money in one place and don’t spread yourself too thin.

Do your research before you putting your hard earned money into any investment. You need to be knowledgeable about investing and the various investment options available to you. Read financial books, the business section of the newspapers, watch the financial news, or ask questions of friends who are successful in their investing or business. And once you decide on the types of investments, stick with them, but do review and, if appropriate, readjust the investment portfolio at least once a year.

If you are just starting out in the job market and don’t think you make enough money to start an early retirement plan, review your expenses and see where you can cut back, and put that money into your retirement investment plan.

No matter how little you can save toward your retirement plan, the important thing is to start as early as possible. The earlier you save, the more time your money will have to grow into an amount that will provide you with secure retirement.

Make Informed Retirement Decisions With the Right Retirement Planning Tools

Figuring out how much money you will need to carry you through your retirement years can seem like a complex undertaking. However, using the right retirement planning tools to plan for your retirement will make the task a lot simpler and complete. The right tools will help you see how much money you’ll need to put away to meet your projected retirement date, how much your retirement nest egg will be worth at retirement and beyond, and how much net income you will need to sustain the lifestyle you want through your retirement years, so that you can feel confident about the informed decisions you need to make.

The various retirement planning tools will take the guess work out of calculating the money you need for your retirement. Accuracy in planning your retirement needs is important for managing your money today. Not putting enough money aside for your retirement means not having enough money to provide that lifestyle you want during your retirement years; putting to much money aside will cause financial hardship and cause you to stay in the workforce more years than necessary.

Fortunately, there are plenty of internet how-to guides, retirement advice blogs and calculators available at your finger tips that you can use to help you get an accurate assessment of how much money you need for your retirement and can help you decide where to direct your retirement funds in the most profitable direction, so there will meet your retirement goals when its time for you to retire.

Online retirement calculators are some of the most handle retirement planning tools available. Most calculators are usually provided to you for free and without asking for any personal information about you. All you do is input the numbers and the calculators can help you project the cash flow you will need to maintain the lifestyle you want, when you need to start saving, how much you need to save and to save for retirement and how much money you need to retire with the plan of your dreams.

These online calculators will also provide important information about your 401K, IRA and Roth IRA plans, or other retirement savings plans.
There are a series of how-to guides that teach you how to plan a retirement savings plans portfolio to consider inflation and deflation of the market.

Other how-to guides such as how to avoid croaked or incompetent money managers and tips on how to know spot an honest financial planner from a fraudulent one are valuable tools for retirement planning tools that can make sure that your retirement portfolio is well funded when you reach your planned retirement date.

Some planning tools will allow you to do the calculations and save the information in a file so that you can go back to it from time to time and make any necessary adjustments to recalculate your projections. Many investment firms such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and Ameritrade provide online retirement planning tools to the general public. You don’t have to be a customer of the companies to use their planning tools.

There are many online retirement planning tools that require you to sign up as a member for free. But there are other tools that are only available to customers of the company offering the service.

With the right retirement planning tools you can make the right decisions today that will help you be happier and more financially secure when your retirement comes. It is important to remember to be flexible in your planning and make adjustments as circumstance in your life warrants.

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Early Retirement Planning Using IRA and 401(K)

Retirement planning is more important than ever with the current downturn in the economy. There are many ways to plan for retirement and sifting thought all the option can be confusing. However, the way to financial freedom and a successful retirement isn’t really that complicated. The main thing to remember is that you should start saving and investing as much money as you can and as early in your life as you can, to give your money the time to grow over time. Time and sound money management are the keys to create wealth for your golden years to come.

This article aims to explain the differences between a 401(k) plan and an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). These are two of the most popular retirement savings plans available that makes retirement planning easy, even for people without any financial sense.

401(k) Plan

What exactly is a 401 (k) plan? A 401k plan is an employee-funded and company-sponsored retirement plan. Some companies also offer to match the employees’ annual contribution.

A 401(k) plan is an excellent retirement planning option because taxes on the contribution and any return on investment are deferred until you start to take money out from the plan when you reach the permissible age to do so without penalties. Taking part in a 401 (k) plan saves you money on income taxes and gives your money the power to make more money tax deferred. Over time, the return on that extra money invested can produce thousands of more dollars toward your retirement fund.

To take full advantage of this retirement plan, you should consider contributing the maximum allowed by law, if your situation allows it. The current maximum contribution you can make to your 401 (k) is limited to 10% of your salary. If you can’t afford to contribute the maximum 10%, try to contribute at least up to the amount that your employer will match. Any matching contributions made by your employer are not counted toward the 10% limit.

It should be noted that there are penalties, in addition to paying the regular taxes on that money, for taking money out of the plan before the allowed age, so be sure that the money you put aside is money that you can do without for the foreseeable future.

The tax-deferred 401 (k) plan should be a part of everyone’s retirement planning portfolio.

IRA (Individual Retirement Account)

An IRA, or an Individual Retirement Account, also provides either a tax-deferred, though a traditional IRA, or tax-free, though a Roth IRA, way of saving for retirement.

A traditional IRA allows you a maximum tax-deductible contribution of up to $4,000 a year, or 100% of your annual income, whichever is greater until the age of 49. If you are over 49, you are allowed to contribute an extra $1,000. A Roth IRA allows a non tax-deductible contribution but offers greater flexibility than a traditional IRA. For the first five years, money contributed into a Roth IRA can be withdrawn without being subjected to a penalty or tax, which has already been paid, but the money earned in the account will be taxed as original income. After five years, both contributions and earnings in the account can be withdrawn without penalty or taxation.

There are limitations to a Roth IRA, however. The amount you can contribute to the retirement plan may be limited or not allowed depending on you income.

You are not limited to picking either the 401 (k) or the IRA. You can have both as long as you work for a company that offers a 401(k) plan and you earn an income.

Regardless of whether you choose a 401 (k) plan, a traditional IRA or Roth IRA, or both as your financial planning for retirement, the key to successfully meeting your retirement needs is to plan for you retirement as early as possible and save as much money as you can afford and as quickly as you can to let time work to your advantage and to grow from your investments. By the time you retire, you will need to be able to cover the cost of living, in addition to any expected medical expenses. This is especially important in today’s age because our life expectancy is going to continue to increase, so you want as much money as possible available when the time comes for your retirement.

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