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Retirement Planning - Your Financial Future Is In Your Hands
by: Kelly Gillis

Retirement planning is for some something they don't think about until they're past time to make the most of the opportunities available when they were younger. Retirement planners agree that in order to enjoy the same lifestyle in retirement that you do now you will need 70-90% of your pre-retirement income. The best part is that it's really never too late to start, or, as the old saying goes, "better late than never". Here are some ideas to help you with successful retirement planning at any age.Most retirement planning specialists will tell you that one of the first keys to successful retirement planning is starting early. It's simple, the earlier you start saving for your retirement the more money you will have due to compounding of dividends and interest.

The difference can be startling. If you started saving at the age of 40, you'd have to save over three times the amount of money that you would have if you had started at the age of 25 to have the same amount of money at age 55.Experts agree that you will need three main sources of retirement income, your Social Security, your pension, and your personal savings, (profit sharing, IRA's, or 403 (b) plans). Max out your employer sponsored retirement plans. These are a great way to save for retirement. Along with the immediate tax savings these offer, many employers offer incentives such as matching a percentage of contributions.

IRA's (individual retirement accounts) are also excellent ways to save for your retirement. This money is put away pre-tax. When you withdraw this money at retirement time you are in a lower tax bracket. The downside of IRA's is that you cannot use this money before a certain age without significant tax penalties.Due to an increased life expectancy you will need to consider safe ways to continue to build your wealth even after you retire. Money market funds are a good way to do this and have little risk of going down in value.

Most financial planners suggest having six months of normal expense money set aside (this is for any age) in case of emergency.Some seniors opt for what is called a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage can be a large part of retirement planning. This is where a homeowner, 62 or over, can convert part of the equity in their home to tax-free income without having to give up title or sell their home. The amount of a reverse mortgage is based on many factors, your age, appraised home value, current interest rate. The money can be paid to the homeowner as a lump sum, in fixed monthly payments or as a line of credit.

Mandatory credit counseling is required before applying for a reverse mortgage.Some use annuities to help cushion retirement. Annuities are contracts issued by life insurance companies that guaranteed periodic payments for life. You buy deferred annuities throughout your working years. The funds accumulate tax deferred.There are many avenues available to help you have an enjoyable retirement, one that is free of money worries and woes. Take you time, read and educate yourself on them before you choose the one, or ones, suited for you..

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