Retirement Financial Planning | Plan For Retirement

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An alarming number of baby boomers are woefully unprepared financially to enjoy their “golden years”. Are you in this precarious group?

Nearly 30 percent of U.S. households age 55 and older have neither a defined benefit plan that pays out monthly during retirement, nor any form of retirement savings such as a 401(k) or an IRA, according to a newly released study by the General Accounting Office. Among this group, they have an average of only $1,000 in financial assets, an annual income of just $18,932 and a net worth of only $34,760.

According to a survey by the Insured Retirement Institute, only 6 in 10 boomers report having any retirement savings at all. Some are already in financial stress with almost a quarter of all boomers struggling to pay their mortgage or rent in the past 12 months. Moreover, a growing number are putting off retirement altogether with 36 percent reporting that they plan to retire at the age of 70 or later.

How can you avoid a similar fate? Experts agree that planning is the key to financial security in retirement. Among their advice:

Calculate how much income you will need in retirement. The Center for Retirement Research estimates households need about 70 percent of their preretirement income in order to maintain their lifestyle. Fidelity, the nation’s largest retirement plan provider, recommends savings equal to at least eight times your final salary.

Max out your workplace retirement plans. Or, at the very least, contribute enough to receive your employer’s matching contribution. It’s free money.

Change your spending habits. Make small sacrifices now to have more money in retirement. Cut your expenses as you approach retirement so you don’t outspend your savings.

One small change that anyone can afford is a biweekly loan payment plan. Making a half payment every other week can pay off debts such as mortgages, student loans and credit cards sooner and save money on interest. How much? Biweekly payments on a 30-year, $250,000 mortgage at 4 percent APR after service fees can save $27,630 in interest and pay off a mortgage 51 months sooner.

More information to help you improve your budgeting and saving skills is available by visiting my company’s personal finance blog Getting Ahead It’s never too late to starting building your nest egg.