Retirement-Getting On Track At Any Age

With the average life expectancy 30 years longer today than it was 100 years ago, saving adequate funds to live comfortably through a long retirement has become more challenging.

The path to retirement is filled with unexpected detours, but with persistence, planning, and a pledge to help motivate you to save towards your goals; you can go a long way toward building financial security. It’s never too late to start saving towards retirement.

By setting some realistic goals, creating a plan, and establishing an automatic payroll allotment, you can build a nice little nest egg that can help you live a more comfortable retirement. Regardless of when you start, certain strategies can increase your odds that you'll achieve your retirement goal:

  • Live within your means.
  • Save through the military's Thrift Savings Plan and/or a Roth IRA.
  • Review asset allocation annually and make adjustments as needed.
  • Do not borrow against your retirement savings.

Living within your means is when you’re not spending more money than you make. For many people, it’s a lot easier said than done. If you want to live within your means, you have to know what your means are. In addition to military basic pay, benefits, and allowances, servicemembers may also receive special pays and incentive pays depending on their career field or location. Military allowances are not taxable and offer a great opportunity for saving long term.

Relying on credit cards is not living within your means. When you plan your spending, try not to rely on credit cards as a way to make ends meet. Read more: Reduce High-Cost Debt.

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a great option for Federal government employees because they earn a matching contribution from the federal government. For servicemembers who do not earn a match, there may be better options for retirement investing depending on their tax situation, so carefully consider all alternatives.

If you are a saver in your 20s, it is recommended you start saving for your retirement early; you have many years to weather short-term market fluctuations and to gain the maximum benefit from the power of compounding. In your 30s, recommendations include saving 10 to 15 percent of your pre-tax income in tax-deferred retirement plan.

If you are a saver in your 40s, creating a spending plan to manage expenses and save for retirement should be a priority. In addition to utilizing similar strategies of younger savers, you should also review your estate plans and update beneficiaries on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. For those who are over 50 years young, there are a few options to make up the difference if savings fall short of retirement goals: continuing to work and save, reduce your income goal, consider a diversified portfolio.

By utilizing a disciplined savings strategy, you can make a significant contribution to your retirement fund.

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Katie Bryan | December 16, 2013

    Check out the guide from @CFPB that helps you to know which questions to ask when shopping for a financial advisor http://ow.ly/rrjYO 

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