There has always been a need for retirement planning and today is certainly no different. There are 401(k)s and many other types of retirement plans that are available to you. You will need to take the time needed to evaluate what your current financial needs are and what you expect the future to hold.
Recent events, such as the rise in energy costs and the ever-skyrocketing health care costs need to be factored in. Although gas prices have been fluctuating lately, I think they are going to go back up, possibly even surpassing the extremes we saw all too recently. These types of events can take a toll on your retirement plan very quickly. Prudent planning begins early and you need a good source of information. Websites like http://jag-info-resources.com/retirement/ are an excellent resource to go to find answers to the questions you may have.
Did you know that most retirement plans have a ceiling of 10% of your pre-tax wages that you can contribute? While that may sound good when you view it against a 2% inflation rate, you must keep in mind that your planning today is not just for the ideal future, but the future that will be reality for you if things turn out to not be ideal or according to your plans today.
By starting early and contributing the maximum that you can afford, you will have a better chance of being prepared for the unforeseen. This is made much easier today because your 401k plan is now transferable from one employer to another. This allows you to continue to grow your retirement account even when you choose to change jobs or even careers.
Unsure of what you will need for retirement? There are calculators like the one at my site as shown in my author box below that will help you figure it out for yourself. This is a helpful tool that lets you see if you are on track or not. Don’t forget that life expectancy is getting longer. When Social Security was passed in the 1930s people lived about 2 years after retirement. Today you can expect to live 20-30 years past retirement and, suddenly, the amount you need to retire comfortably with a major change in lifestyle gets very large.
Lets say that today you need $40,000 to live on and you retire in 20 years, you will need a minimum of $850,000 to carry you through retirement. That is assuming that you will live an additional 20 years after you retire and are in good health. There is something to be said for debt reduction as being part of your retirement planning, as well, since the last thing you want to do is go into retirement with a ton of debt still hanging over your head.
Having $40,000 a year to live on with little to no debt will obviously go farther than if you still have the same debt load as you do now. If you reduce your debt load by the same amount that you save for retirement, you double your retirement savings.
One cannot have a conversation about retirement without the subject of taxes coming into it. The money you put into your 401(k) is pre-tax so you will pay taxes on it when you get disbursements. The 401(k) is intended for retirement, so there are also very heavy tax penalties if you withdraw any funds before you turn 59.5 years of age. If at all possible, do not make any early withdrawals from your retirement account, since most people have found that in addition to the heavy tax penalties for doing so, the prospect of paying it back, even with good intentions, is tougher than it seems.