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Colleen's Corner

Asset Allocation

Often financial "experts" make asset allocation difficult to understand. My goal in this series of articles is for you to understand asset allocation thoroughly, in an easy to understand format.
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Make Your Dreams of a Comfortable Retirement a Reality

Every worker dreams of a comfortable retirement.  Medical breakthroughs have lead to a dramatic increase in life expectancies.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) tracks life expectancies. You can view your projected life expectancy by clicking  here.  It is most prudent to use the life expectancy of the younger spouse, plus at least an additional five years to the figures provided by the CDC.  Because of these longer life expectancies; we can expect to spend more years in retirement than our parents did. 

But, with these longer years in retirement, comes more complicated financial planning than our parents had as well.  We now have to answer questions like:

  • How long will my retirement funds last?
  • Am I saving enough today?
  • How soon can I retire?
  • How much will I need to save towards a comfortable retirement?
  • How much money can I withdraw from my plan each year, without depleting my investments before the end of my life?
  • If Social Security does not last my entire retirement, how much should I be saving?
  • If my pension plan becomes default how much do I need to be saving?

The retirement calculator at http://www.retirementcalc.com can help you to create your retirement income plan. Using the retirement calculator, you can view your retirement savings balance and plan your withdrawals for each year until the end of your retirement.  The results of your input assumptions are revealed instantly in the retirement calculator.

From the U.S. Government's own Social Security web site "...Under current law, if you have average earnings, your Social Security retirement benefits will replace only about 40 percent, so you'll need to supplement your benefits with a pension, savings or investments."  This assumes, of course, that Social Security is secure and will be around throughout your entire retirement.  Most financial planners suggest that retirees will need at least 75 percent of their pre-retirement pay, to ensure a comfortable retirement.  This percent comes from a combination of a pension, Social Security and personal savings.  Pensions are scarce, and if you are one of the lucky ones to have a pension, these are becoming less secure.  Just ask any United Airlines worker.

75 percent of pre-retirement income is the usual rule of thumb.  This is because after retirement you can expect to have your mortgage paid off and your kids off on their own. But, if your dream is to sail around the world, pay for the grandkids travel costs to see you several times a year or start your own business, then you will need to consider a much higher percentage.  In these cases, you should create a plan whose percentage is closer to one hundred.

Whether you are three months, three years, or 30 years away from retirement, it is never too early, or late, to start planning. Through the creation of the correct retirement income plan now, you can make a big difference in how comfortable your retirement will be. You have worked hard for what you have; you deserve to make your dreams of a comfortable retirement a reality.

How do I keep up-to-date on the latest news impacting my retirement?

To keep informed about retirement topics, try a FREE membership to Retirement Intelligence Information Services. At no cost to join, you will receive a bi-monthly newsletter full of financial information to inform and empower you to have a successful retirement. As an added bonus, www.retirementcalc.com will include the Retirement Calculator Software Version 2.0 (a $24.95 value seen live on CBS TV) for FREE.

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