If you’re about age 45 or older, chances are good that you’ve begun to think about retirement. And yet, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 2 in 10 workers say they feel “very confident” about their future retirement years. Does that sound like you?
Luckily, the institute also estimates that 8 out of 10 workers are on track to have at least 80 percent of the financial resources they need in retirement. That means the odds are good (as long as you aren’t part of the other 20 percent) that you are close to being able to retire comfortably. You may have a few gaps in your retirement plan, but with a few small changes you can probably make up the difference.
Set a goal. Only about half of you have actually used a retirement calculator to determine your future financial needs. Use one of these online calculators, or meet with your financial professional, to get a solid idea for your own personal savings goal.
Take advantage of employer matches. If your employer offers matching funds, try to contribute at least that much to your retirement account. Otherwise you’re basically turning down free money.
Make catch-up contributions. After age 50, the IRS increases the amount of tax-deferred contributions you can make to your retirement fund. Take advantage of this increased potential for savings in the last decade or so of your career.
Don’t borrow from yourself. One of the worst mistakes you can make with your retirement fund is to borrow from it. It’s not just a matter of losing the principal amount from your account; you also lose all of the interest that would have compounded on that money over the years. This is a mistake from which it is hard to recover.
Assess your insurance needs. The cost of long-term care can be considerable, and eat a hole in your retirement income fund. Talk to your insurance professional about long-term insurance now to secure a lower premium, before you enter your retirement years. Talk about your life insurance needs while you’re at it, because protecting yourself financially is one of the best ways to ensure a stable retirement.