Preparing for retirement can be a daunting process, especially if you’re already facing leaving the workforce and relying on your savings. One in four 65-year olds will live past the age of 90, and one in 10 will live past the age of 95. That gives people more time to enjoy retirement yet really ramps up the pressure to prepare financially.
Get your own financial house in order by setting up and protecting your retirement with success in mind. From understanding your goals to enlisting legal help, here are five tips to get started.
Understand Your Goals
Although you can’t plan for every scenario, planning for nothing and winging it could lead to a financial crisis. Sit down with your finances and map out what your goals are. Ask yourself how much money you’ll need to live comfortably, or travel, or to move into assisted living or hire care when the time comes. There are several online calculators that can help point you in the right direction like the one from AARP to give you an idea of what you need.
Set Up an Identity Theft Service
Your financial security can only go so far without it being compromised by identity theft. Reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that identity theft targeting retirement accounts is on the rise. In fact, when Georgia local Steven Voss checked his 401(k) balance, it was empty and had been stolen by using little identifying information.
It’s imperative to protect your retirement from theft by setting up an identity theft monitoring service from the start. Choose a company that looks for suspicious activity ranging from credit cards being opened to utilities in your name. It could be a sign that someone is trying to compromise your identity.
Get Your Savings in Order
Stashing money away in your bank account won’t do much for your long-term savings goals. Get your savings in order by researching what your employer offers, including 401(k) matching. A Roth IRA is always wise to enjoy tax-free growth on the money you stash away. Your current age, comfort level for risk and current assets will dictate the types of retirement savings you choose. Meet with a CPA to walk through the process to get your savings up and running and working for you.
Get Tax Savvy
Figuring out the tax advantages of retirement can be tricky, but can also offer additional savings to tuck away for your future. For example, you can defer paying income tax on money in a 401(k) of up to $18,000 to give your savings a boost. And speaking of taxes, consider stashing away your annual return directly into your retirement accounts to enjoy a boost in your annual savings. The best way to get truly tax savvy about your retirement is to talk to a CPA who can walk you through the best retirement options.
Enlist Legal Help
It may not seem like you need much legalese involved in retiring other than getting your will in order, but you could need additional advice. Meet with a lawyer and discuss the terms of your will ranging from who will receive what’s left of your retirement, along with other assets like your home or cars. Figuring out what to do with your money as you require elder care, and who has the right to assist with your finances are also areas to consider.
And in the circumstance that you inherit a windfall from a deceased relative, ask a lawyer to walk you through the process of dealing with relatives requesting financial assistance and protecting your new retirement wealth for long-term health.
Getting your retirement up and running doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s only the first step for long-term financial success. Protect your financial health, as well as your physical health, to put yourself in the best position possible to enjoy your retirement.
Author Information: Susan Finch is a freelance writer living in Atlanta, and loves helping businesses improve their bottom line with compelling copy that sparks action. When she’s not writing, she’s traveling with her family and plotting her next creative pursuit.