Where to Find Reliable Retirement Planning Advice – Don’t Blow Your Retirement Planning

The word retirement is accepted favorably by some and with trepidation by others. It means one thing to you and probably something completely different to your neighbor. Some people look forward to pursuing new hobbies or interests while others look forward to relaxing. Regardless of what retirement means to you, one thing always holds true – you need a retirement plan if you want a secure retirement. You need some retirement planning advice.

Take a little time to consider who you want to spend your retirement and begin moving toward the plan of action that will take you comfortably into your later years. Once you have defined your retirement goals, you need to consider which direction to take your financial resources so that you can make sure that you have a comfortable retirement. There are places you can check out that have solid financial planning and retirement planning advice.

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab can help you plan for your retirement by giving you valuable advice and the necessary tools to make it happen. You can request their free “Retirement Planning Guide” or contact a Schwab retirement specialist for retirement planning advice. They will make sure that you do everything that you can to strengthen your retirement income.

MetLife

The MetLife website has a wealth of information in their “Life Advice Series” as well as other areas within the site. The retirement planning advice is practical and solid. There is a “Retirement Toolbox” that can help you plan for your retirement. “MetLife Retirement” offers some excellent advice for people who are already retired or those who are a long way from retirement, you just choose your category and MetLife has the answers and advice that you want.

Ameriprise Financial

Ameriprise has a “Retirement Planning” section on their website. You can learn about the retirement stages, and there are lots of answers to common questions about retirement from social security to how much you will need to save in order to retire. You can find a wealth of retirement planning advice on this website.

Retirement Plan Advisors

If hands on planning is more your thing, then Retirement Plan Advisors (RPA) is the company for you. The offer personal service in a wide range of financial planning services including retirement planning advice. They can help you get your retirement planning on track, regardless of where you are on the retirement path.

Third Age

Third Age is a website that is devoted to “older” adults. That is, people who are approaching retirement age or who are retired. They have practical financial information and retirement planning advice that you can definitely use. Check out their “Retire Well” section for great tips.

There are many, many great sites that can help you plan for your retirement. In fact, you may even find it helpful to combine the retirement planning advice from several areas to find the plan that works for you. The important thing to remember is to select a retirement plan that suits your lifestyle and sets you on a path to achieve the type of retirement that you really want.

10 Key Ingredients to Demand From Your Retirement Plan

The 10 Key Ingredients to DEMAND for a Successful Retirement Plan!

If a client is working on their retirement plan, it is very likely they have not only personal goals and dreams, but also a minimum level of expectations from their financial planner. Heck, the truth is, a client shouldn’t have just a minimum level of expectations, they should have specific things from a retirement plan that they DEMAND!

With life expectancies being greater than ever, retirement could likely be the longest phase of their life. Therefore, I believe that it is absolutely imperative that you have a plan in place that is well-equipped to not only spend and enjoy your retirement years, but also make sure you don’t make the mistake of “living too long”.

If you have any doubt that retirement planning needs to be an essential part of a financial planner’s practice going forward, take a look at these statistics:

• Nearly 80 Million baby boomers are approaching or entering retirement

• By the year 2020, these baby boomers will control approximately two-thirds of the financial assets in the U.S.

• 75% of investors switch or add investment professionals within 15 years of retirement because they doubt the professional who got them to retirement knows how to get them through retirement*

• 68% of investors surveyed between ages 55 and 70 consolidated their assets as a result of completing a retirement income plan; an additional 19% said they would like to consolidate**

What do these facts tell us? Retirement planning is not only a huge opportunity for financial professionals, but it is also a huge challenge!

Retirement planning is an extremely sophisticated process, and I strongly encourage retirees not to attempt this on their own. In addition to the risk of outliving your assets, you’ve got other money predators to stay away from such as taxes, inflation, stock market and interest rate volatility, health care, social security, and much more.

So the point of this article is to review what I believe to be the “10 Key Ingredients” to a successful retirement plan that every planner should focus on, and every client should DEMAND:

1. Growth Potential – I think it’s safe to say you want your money to grow. However, the real reason why you should want your assets to grow is not to become enormously wealthy, but to ensure that you can keep pace with things like inflation, taxes, planned obsolescence, technology changes, rising healthcare costs, long-term care, etc. Just about every retiree I work with tells me that they do not want to spend their principal, but would rather live off the income generated from their principal. Therefore, if you want your income to keep pace with inflation, then you should demand a well-diversified and well-balanced portfolio to allow you to keep pace with your changing lifestyle over the long-term.

2. Safety Provisions – Clearly the two biggest financial fears most investors and retirees face are losing money and running out of money. These fears are not only understandable, but also the most critical! I always tell my clients that “90% of my job is avoiding large losses”. If you are taking income from your retirement assets and suffer significant losses in your portfolio, it can be extremely devastating… and also dramatically increase the probabilities of running out of money. Therefore, every client should demand a retirement plan that contains clear strategies to properly insulate you against suffering large investment losses and outliving your income.

3. Tax Efficiencies – Everyone’s least favorite uncle is a man named “Uncle Sam”. I have yet to meet someone who truly enjoys paying taxes… whether an ordinary income tax, capital gains tax, or tax on dividends and/or interest. John D. Rockefeller once said; “The fastest way to accumulate wealth is to make sure you never pay tax on income you don’t use.” That may be one of the most brilliant statements I’ve heard aside from Einstein’s theory on compound numbers. Therefore, a successful retirement plan should entail two pieces. First, your money should grow with as little (or no) tax consequences as possible. Second, your income should be received in the most tax-efficient way that is legally possible. The truth is, we can’t beat the unbeatable opponent (the IRS). However, our job as financial professionals is to work as master technicians in helping our clients avoid unnecessary taxation.

4. Income We Cannot Outlive – With the explosion of baby boomers and the improvements in modern medicine, today’s life expectancies are greater than ever. When Social Security was first enacted in 1931, the average life expectancy for a male was approximately 59 years old… and yet Social Security didn’t start paying benefits until age 62! Today the average male’s average life expectancy is approximately 85 years old… so you can see why we are having such a tremendous battle with Social Security benefits. Many studies show that by the year 2030, more than 2/3 of the people alive (in the U.S) will be above the age of 60… WOW! So the message here is that retirement plans today should demand an outlook consisting of at least a minimum of 30 years.

5. Income Growth Potential – In order for your income to grow, your assets must grow at a rate that exceeds your withdrawal rate. This means that, as much as some of you don’t want to hear this, investing a portion of your monies in the stock market plays a vital role in your retirement plan. Many of you may think that you can accomplish adequate retirement income by simply investing in bonds and CD’s, but that is usually not the answer. For example, if you consider investing in bond’s or CD’s, and you factor in inflation and taxes, using these income-producing investments may not accomplish the growth you need over the long haul in order for your income to grow (especially considering the fact that interest rates over the past decade have been historically low). Therefore, this is where the demand for professional money management plays a key role in a financial planner’s retirement strategy.

6. Maintain Control – Although I mentioned earlier that a successful retirement plan should virtually guarantee that you not only have the income you need, but that you also never run out. In the old days, this could only be accomplished through an annuity. The huge downsides to these “old school” annuities were that you would give up the two most important things… control and access to your money. In other words, an annuity would pay you a fixed income for life, but you would no longer have access or control to these monies. Not an option!! In a retirement plan, you should demand that you maintain total control over your assets, both during accumulation as well as distribution, so that you can choose how and where to invest or spend these hard-earned monies.

7. Maintain Access – Similar to the previous demand for control, you also should demand that you have access to your monies in the event that you need them. Although every retirement plan should include setting some monies aside for unexpected events or emergencies, sometimes life brings about severe changes that no retirement plan is prepared for. Because there are so many moving parts in our retirement lives such as our health, interest rates, taxes, inflation, health care costs, long-term care needs, etc., you need to be certain your money is not “locked up” in the event you might need to access it.

8. Full Transfer to Beneficiaries — Another common theme I hear from my retired clients is the importance of leaving a legacy. At a bare minimum, every retirement plan should demand that there is a plan in place to ensure that whatever money you don’t spend will efficiently pass on to your children, family, loved ones, or charities.

9. Professional Supervision – Retirement should be one big vacation, where you get to enjoy all of the things you love such as traveling, dining out, buying nice things, gifting or spending money with our families, donating, etc. The very last thing you should be focusing on in retirement is worrying over your money and your financial plan. In every important aspect of our lives, there are professionals out there who are passionate about taking care of you. Therefore, you should demand to enjoy your retirement, and leave the worries about your finances to the professionals.

10.Consolidation – One thing I have learned from my clients is that when you retire, the last thing you want to do is receive multiple statements from many different companies. I believe a retirement plan should adopt Warren Buffet’s philosophy, which is “Put all you eggs in one basket. But first, make sure you know everything about that basket. Then, make sure someone is watching over it very closely”. Having a consolidated financial life in retirement can not only lead to less stress and worries, but also greater success.

In summary, here is my strong recommendation: Use these “10 Key Ingredients” as a challenge to put your current financial professional to the test. It is exactly what my clients DEMAND from my retirement plans, and the truth is, they should not consider working with me if I cannot provide this for them. I think you’ll agree that these bequests are not only essential, but they really aren’t “asking too much”.

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.

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.

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.