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Life Lessons: When Should I Plan for Retirement?

While growing up in a middle-class suburb in Salt Lake City, Utah, I always knew that my father had a retirement plan, but I was never told much about it. When I started working at the age of 15, I don’t remember having the opportunity to contribute to a retirement plan. I probably wouldn’t have contributed anyways, as I was only making $3.35 an hour at the time and only working 10-15 hours per week.  After I began working full-time, I still never felt the urgency, or need, to contribute to a retirement plan, even when my employer offered one.

Many years have gone by and I now work for National Benefit Services, LLC, a Third-Party Administrator that specializes in administrating 401(k), 403b and 457(b) retirement plan compliance, as well as FSA, HSA, HRA and COBRA Plans.  I have worked at NBS for 7 years. Although I have been contributing to my 401(k) and have a good start to my retirement plan, I wish that I had contributed throughout my working career.  I still have time to build up my Retirement Plan to help prepare myself for my own Retirement, but looking back I realize how uneducated I was.

Today I will share two great resources to help make it easier for you to plan for your retirement.

Arielle O’Shea shares a simple overview of the following topics in an article in USA Today that can help you determine how much you need to save for retirement:

  1. Estimating your future spending
  2. Using projected spending to decide how much income you’ll need
  3. Using a retirement calculator
  4. Jotting down a retirement plan
  5. Revisiting your retirement plan strategy regularly

Click here to read full article

In today’s world, it is important to save early and maximize your retirement nest egg.  Social Security may provide you with a portion of what is needed for your retirement. However, studies show that contributing to a retirement plan and preparing yourself complements the portion of retirement that Social Security benefits provides.  This is a key factor in creating peace of mind during your retirement years.

The Social Security Association offers in-depth educational material to answer the following questions.

  1. Retirement
  • When should you apply?
  • What documents do you need to provide?
  • What are the factors that may affect your retirement benefits?
  • What should you remember to do after you retire?

2. Disability

  • How do you qualify and apply for benefits?
  • What happens to your application after it is approved?
  • Who can receive benefits on your earnings record?
  • What do you need to know about receiving disability benefits?
  • When does Medicare coverage start for SS disability beneficiaries?
  • What happens if you go back to work?
  1. Survivors
  • How do you plan for your survivors?
  • What if you are the Survivor?
  • How do you apply for benefits?

They also provide helpful calculators to clarify your individual circumstances.

  • Retirement estimator calculator
  • Life expectancy calculator
  • Retirement age calculator

Becoming familiar with this material will allow you to make informed decisions regarding your Social Security benefits.  It will also help you estimate the Social Security benefit payments you may receive, thereby adding clarity as you determine the necessary additional retirement you will need to accumulate.

Click here to Access Complete Material

As I look back, I realize that even though finances were tight during my early working career, any amount saved in a retirement plan provided by my employer would have been better than nothing. Contributing then would have lessened the financial strain of maximizing contributions to my retirement plan now. Using the retirement tools that I have outlined above will provide you with invaluable information. After gaining this knowledge, I am much more determined to ensure that my retirement nest egg will enable me to enjoy my retirement.

Make sure that you are financially prepared to retire by contributing on a consistent basis to your employers’ retirement plan. Speak to an advisor specializing in planning about your retirement and the products that would best suit your needs and circumstances. They can assist you with the complexities of planning for retirement. This will give you peace of mind that your future finances are secure