Start Squirreling Away Funds For Your Retirement

by : Cindy Heller

Investing for retirement is not something everyone does ahead of time. Many people do not get started because they feel that their retirement is several decades away and they can get to it in good time. Almost everyone under estimates the resources, mainly cash, that are required to retire with a certain quality of life. With better health management and medical technology, many people are beginning to live beyond the previous general estimates for human life spans. The result is that many people run the risk of running out of money before their time is up.

Since few people are motivated in investing for retirement early enough, it has become a serious issue for governments in many developed countries. In some of these countries their welfare systems are straining from the demands put on them by the growing numbers of elderly living beyond the estimates of previous human longevity models. In these countries governments have warned their citizens that their social security systems may not have enough funds to go around.

In order to face our retirements more confidently, it has become necessary for us to not rely on state-sponsored programs; but increasingly on self-managed initiatives.

Key Issues Regarding Investing For Retirement

Investing for retirement requires us to prepare a retirement plan early - the earlier the better. Unfortunately, when you are young it is very difficult to imagine life as a retiree. What can we do? Perhaps we should initially discuss it with our parents. Many of them would have experienced the positive and negative elements of investing for retirement. Next you may wish to a financial planner. Do not commit to any investments until you feel that you have done enough research, clarified your doubts, identified your key goals and estimated what portion of your salary you are prepared to save for the long-term.

During your discussions with your financial planner regarding investing for retirement, you are likely to be surprised how much you will need to set aside for the golden years when you would have stopped working. Many people tend to extrapolate their planned savings linearly and find that achieving their investment goals are near impossible. Your financial planner should be able to enlighten you regarding some essential concepts of investing like the time value of money, the effect of compounding interest, the benefits of a diversified portfolio with a spread among asset classes with varying risk and return profiles and pre-tax investment programs made possible by your employer or government.

When you have done sufficient research, understood key investment concepts and got sound advice from your financial planner, you will realize that if you start early enough and do the right things, you should be able to retire rather comfortably with sufficient funds to last your lifetime. Investing for retirement is not difficult if you start sufficiently early and act on sound financial planning advice.

The Advantages Of 401k Retirement Plans

A 401k retirement plan allows a worker to save for retirement while deferring income taxes on the saved money and earnings until withdrawal. Many people today are relying on 401k retirement plans to support their needs during their retirement. The funds from this retirement plan can be used to pay regular bills and in some cases if the funds are substantial, help us retire in style and luxury. In these uncertain times fraught with economic and political uncertainty and health scares, it pays to plan ahead for our future when we may not be economically very productive by saving with a 401k retirement plan. The 401k retirement plan is a flexible program that has substantial benefits for retirees.

Of all the advantages of a 401k retirement plan, they key advantage are the tax benefits. Companies you work for are responsible for creating and designing the plan. Some companies may restrict the amount set aside to match what the employer sets aside.

The tax benefit arises from the fact that you will only be taxed on the remaining amount of your salary after the savings into the 401k retirement plan. The return on investment from a 401k retirement plan may be higher than many other competing retirement investment plans. The flexibility advantage is that you may transfer the funds from the retirement fund initially setup with your former employer into the new employer's 401k retirement plan. You may also choose to transfer the funds to a personal 401k retirement fund account.

Use Your 401k Funds To Build A Diversified Financial Portfolio

The 401k retirement fund plan is to a large extent a self-directed investment program. You can choose to assign the funds into a wide variety of financial assets like stocks, bonds, money market investments, mutual funds or some of them. You can choose to re-allocate the funds among these investment choices at any time. It is critical to get some information and advise regarding these financial instruments if you choose to invest and re-allocate the funds yourself.

Saving and investing with a 401k retirement plan is a great way to ensure that you have sufficient funds to live on long after your retirement from full-time employment. The funds can be withdrawn if they are needed in the event of an emergency. If necessary, you may also take out a loan against your 401k retirement funds. This should only be done after much careful thought and consideration. The funds in your 401k retirement plan are for your retirement. If you squander the money, you will just be postponing your agony into the future.