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What Women Need To Know About Preparing For Retirement

Sep 11, 2008
As women, we have many different roles that we take on throughout the years. We are daughters, wives, housekeepers, mothers, employees, volunteers and so much more. With all of this activity, hustle and bustle, thinking about the day when we will retire always seems like it is a long way off. It can be difficult to put effort into saving for something that seems such a distant idea. However, planning and preparing for retirement is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves.

The most important thing to remember when preparing for retirement is that your income will end, but your bills will keep coming in. There will be some decreases in spending, due to the fact that you no longer need to commute and spend money on other work related expenses, but your cost of living will likely remain the same or even increase as you will be spending more time at home. You need to be sure that you have enough funding to take care of these expenses for many years to come.

There are several different options available when it is time to begin saving for retirement, each with its own set of rules and regulations. Be sure to understand the ins and outs of the types of retirement savings plans you are investigating before making a final decision. Some of the most popular options for retirement funding include:

Social Security - In the US, Social Security payments are about 40 percent of the monthly earnings of a retiree. While this free money is a wonderful asset to your retirement budget, it is far from enough to allow those who have left the workforce to live comfortably. You can certainly budget Social Security payments into your retirement plan, but know that there is more that needs to be done.

Profit Sharing and Pension - Some employers offer profit sharing and pension plans to their employees. These are usually company allocated funds that are invested on behalf of the employee and are paid out upon your leaving the company. There are often penalties involved if you leave an employer before retirement. If your company offers one of these plans, be sure to educate yourself on the regulations and rules that govern the policy. Be sure to keep track of the amount that is in your account each year and review what your future additional needs might be.

401(k) Plans - 401(k) plans are very popular retirement savings plans that are offered through employers. When these are offered through an employer, often employee contributions to the fund are matched by the company, up to a certain percentage of weekly or monthly income. In this case, you may want to elect to have a higher amount held from your checks to get the most from your money when it is time to cash out your account. As with a profit sharing or pension plan, usually you must have a certain number of years at a company for your account to be fully vested.

Individual Retirement Accounts - If you are not able to start a retirement funding plan through your employer or the plans that are offered to you are simply not enough for you to retire comfortably when you want to, consider an individual retirement account or IRA. Certain types of retirement accounts offer tax incentives to those investing up to a certain amount of money each year. Remember that these are investment accounts, the amount they will be worth will vary depending on what you add to the account and how long you keep the money invested.

Making the crucial decisions that are necessary to ensure that your future will be safe and comfortable can be difficult. You may want to seek the help of a professional retirement investment specialist. They will be able to look at your current lifestyle and income, find out about what you would like to be able to accomplish in retirement and help you to develop a retirement savings strategy that will be affordable for you and will create a pleasant retirement environment for you later.

Even when retirement is decades away, beginning to prepare for retirement as early as possible will make things less financially stressful for you down the road. Create an affordable retirement plan as soon as possible and you can be certain that your golden years are spent enjoying yourself, rather than worrying over how the bills are being paid each month. With careful planning and investment help, if necessary, you can ensure that you have a pleasant retirement without financial stress or worry.
About the Author
Martin Reed is the developer and owner of Female Forum - an online community for women. He also blogs about how to develop a successful online community.
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