You may not know how to retire, but that’s not surprising. You’ve never done it before. Although many things change in your lifestyle when you retire, one thing remains constant — you still need income. Where will the money come from?
Government programs, like Social Security, provide regular income for as long as you live. However, Social Security simply creates a base income and was never designed to be your sole retirement income source. Economists predict that in the not-too-distant future, there will be more Social Security benefit recipients than contributors to support the system. Most likely, you’ll receive some money from this government program, but benefit amounts and requirements change frequently. This is why it is so crucial for you to take responsibility now for your own financial independence tomorrow.
According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute’s 2009 Retirement Confidence Survey, 53 percent of workers in the U.S. have less than $25,000 in total savings and investments. The typical American household (headed by a 43-year-old) has just over $18,000 in savings.
Your financial independence later depends on your actions now. You must consider everything — Social Security, pensions, annuities, life insurance and investments. A careful analysis of these and other areas can help you determine whether you have adequate reserves to retire comfortably.
Employer-sponsored retirement plans
Employer-sponsored retirement plans are a good source of income. If you’ve moved or changed jobs, there may be confusion about how much you’ll actually receive. The benefit booklet provided by your employer should tell you what requirements must be met, and what benefits you can expect. Don’t forget to keep in touch with former employers. You may be eligible to receive benefits; however, they can’t pay you if they can’t find you.
Personal savings and investments
Personal savings and investments such as annuities, stocks, certificates of deposit, life insurance policies, savings bonds, mutual funds, money market accounts, real estate and personal property often define the difference between financial hardship and financial comfort in your retirement years. A financial professional can provide the education to help you make decisions about how to handle your assets and investments before and after you reach retirement age.
Jeff Meislahn is a Financial Representative of Principal National Life Insurance Company and Principal Life Insurance Company and a Registered Representative of Princor Financial Services Corporation. Securities offered through Princor Financial Services Corporation, 800/247-1737, member SIPC. Principal National (except in New York) and Principal Life are issuing insurance companies of the Principal Financial Group. Principal National, Principal Life and Princor® are members of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392. Jeff can be reached at 515-771-8175 or Meislahn.firstname.lastname@example.org.