By Gina Gallovich
There are many important life events – graduation, marriage, children, home buying, and, of course, retirement. You want to plan for a comfortable retirement, but you don’t want to live like a pauper while doing so. According to Kenneth Kelly, Chairman and CEO of First Independence Bank, “Start early to create the habit of saving. Look at your everyday expenses and see where you can get the same service or product for less and put that savings into your retirement plan.”
It’s a balancing act, one that can be helped by using tools and resources easily available to you. You don’t need to be a financial whiz or have an advanced degree. Common sense will guide you along the way as you make plans for retirement.
One resource you have but don’t immediately consider is your family or friends. Your parents and grandparents have saved for their own retirement. Sit down with them and discuss the plans they made for themselves, ask them how it’s working out, and what, if they had the opportunity, would they do differently. Learn from them as they’re learning from their own successes and missteps. Did they set aside a specific percentage of their income each year or did they increase it over time; did they set up a 401K or put money into an IRA; and/or did they contribute to a company pension plan?
Now is the time to get started on your own plans if you haven’t. First, you need to take into consideration what “benefits” await you, from Social Security; private, government, corporate or union pensions; 401Ks, or other investments. Do a risk assessment for each “benefit.” For instance, Social Security is not the be all and end all of plans. It is there as a minimum safety net, the key is to diversify your retirement assets to limit your risks.
First Independence Bank has tools, resources and calculators that can help you in your planning. Go to https://www.firstindependence.com/, click on the Resources tab and go to the financial calculators. You can also log onto the Social Security Administration site: https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/index.html to help you in your planning. Various company and union websites also have these sorts of tools available as well to calculate your pension. You can put in variables with guesstimates on future salary, retirement age, etc.
Next, determine what type of retirement you want. By that, I mean, do you want to retire at the same standard of living you now enjoy, or can you live off of less? This will help determine how much money you need to save. “Starting in your 20s, a good rule of thumb,” said Kelly, “is to put aside roughly 18% of your salary. Let market conditions take over and by your early 60s you will have generated enough money to maintain your lifestyle well into your 80s.” Also, keep in mind that financial planning is not “one size fits all”. Be sure to consult a certified financial planner to discuss your retirement plan.
Also, take into consideration the possibility of unforeseen medical expenses and plan accordingly. Do you need to take out long-term care insurance? If you suffer from a debilitating or chronic disease such as diabetes, it may be a good move on your part.
There are a whole host of other variables to consider including determining at what age you want to retire, factoring in the market value of your investments, calculating the effect of inflation, etc. But the key is to start building your nest egg now. Don’t be among the nearly 50% of American families who, according to the Economic Policy Institute in 2018, had no retirement account savings.
It is never too early to start saving for retirement. And, it is never too late. The sooner you start, the earlier you can retire and work only if it fulfills you, not out of necessity.
First Independence Bank is a member of the FDIC and is an Equal Housing Lender