Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement
(Source: Department of Labor. Web: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/Publications/10_ways_to_prepare.html)
1. Know your retirement needs.
Retirement is expensive. Experts estimate that you'll need about 70% of your pre-retirement income—lower earners, 90% or more—to maintain your standard of living when you stop working.
2. Find out about Social Security.
Social Security pays the average retiree about 40% of pre-retirement earnings. Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 for a free Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement (PEBES).
3. Learn about your employer's pension or profit sharing plan.
If your employer offers a plan, check to see what your benefit is worth. Most employers will provide an individual benefit statement. Before you change jobs, find out what will happen to your pension. Learn what benefits you may have from previous employment. Find out if you will be entitled to benefits from your spouse's plan. For a free booklet on private pensions, call the U.S. Department of Labor at 1-800-998-7542.
4. Contribute to a tax-sheltered plan.
If your employer offers a tax-sheltered savings plan, such as a 401(k), sign up and contribute all you can. Your taxes will be lower, your company may kick in more, and automatic deductions make it easy.
5. Ask your employer to start a plan.
If your employer doesn't offer a retirement plan, suggest that he/she start one. Simplified plans can be set up by certain employers. For information on simplified employee pensions, order Internal Revenue Service Publication 590 by calling 1-800-829-3676.
6. Put money into an IRA.
You can put $5,000 a year into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and delay paying taxes on investment earnings until retirement age. If you don't have a retirement plan (or are in a plan and earn less than a certain amount), you can also take a tax deduction for your IRA contributions. IRS Publication 590 contains information about IRAs.
It's Never Too Late to Start
Start young. A look at the performance of $5,000 retirement plan investments over time at 4% shows the value of starting early.
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7. Don't touch your savings.
Don't dip into your retirement savings. You'll lose principal and interest, and you may lose tax benefits. If you change jobs, roll over your savings directly into an IRA or your new employer's retirement plan.
8. Start now, set goals, and stick to them.
Start early. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow.
9. Consider basic investment principles.
How you save can be as important as how much you save. Inflation and the type of investments you make play important roles in how much you'll have saved at retirement. Know how your pension or savings plan is invested.
10. Ask questions.
Talk to your employer, your bank, your union, or a financial adviser.
The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2012
( source: U.S. News Media Group– 2011 )
The cities honored as The Best Places to Retire in 2012 are:
- Pleasant year round: Flagstaff, Az.
- Affordable mountain town: Boone, NC
- Water views on a budget: Traverse City, MI
- Greenest place to retire: Walnut Creek, CA
- A college town for retirees: Ithaca, NY
- Place to launch a second career: Lincoln Neb
- Best mix of affordability and amenities: Pittsburg, PA
- Best place for affordable housing: Port Charlotte, FL
- Best place for single retirees: Pittsfield, Mass
- Best place for recreation and culture: Sante Fe, NM
For more information about The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2012 and the U.S. News Best Places to Retire search tool, you can visit http://usnews.com/retire.
Residents of these counties enjoy some of the highest life expectancies in the U.S.
- Montgomery County, MD
- Story County, IA
- Carver County, MN
- Collier County, FL
- Benton County, OR
- Fairfax County, VA
- Marin County, CA
- Olmsted County, MN
- Johnson County, IA
- Honolulu County, HI
Tips for traveling with the proper insurance:
- If you really need some valuables on your trip—cameras, PDAs, laptops, other electronics—buy insurance to cover them at all times, including when you take valuables with you on a trip. Don't rely on an airline, hotel, tour company, or cruise line for recovery.
- If you don't really need it, don't take it with you. If jewelry is important to the way you look, get some cheap fake baubles for travel and leave the good stuff at home. Ship irreplaceable papers, photos, antiques, collections, and such through an insured shipping service.
- Don't rely on a supplier's liability to protect you against loss or damage. Arrange whatever insurance you need yourself.
Benefits of participating in a Safe Driver Course:
- Possible rate reduction of insurance premiums
- Tune up your driving skills and update your knowledge of the rules of the road.
- Learn about normal age-related physical changes, and how to adjust your driving to allow for these changes.
- Reduce your traffic violations, crashes, and chances for injuries – learn to become safer on the road