Retirement planning starts late
I am 56 years old. In a couple of days, I will be 57. I have
been a single parent for the past 20 years, raising three kids
that are now all grown. At this point I do not have any savings.
I'm still working a full-time job, making $33,696 yearly.
How do I (or is it too late) start saving for
my retirement? I will have a small pension from my job when
I turn 65 if I stay here, approximately $300 per month. It
isn't a 401(k) plan. We just got that here this year, so I
never paid anything into this plan. My kids are grown and
gone. Where do I start?
Happy Birthday! Congratulations on what you've accomplished
in raising three kids as a single parent. A late start is
still better than throwing up your hands and hoping for the
best when it comes to building a retirement nest egg.
Three hundred dollars a month may sound inadequate, and it
is, but you're still $300 ahead of where you would be if you
didn't have this money. Make sure you consider what happens
to the pension payout if you should leave prior to age 65
if you're looking at a career change.
If your employer is matching all or part of
your contributions to a 401(k) plan, then you should try to
set aside enough money to maximize the employer contribution.
If the company does a 50 percent match, you make 50 percent
on your money instantly by contributing to the plan.
Invest conservatively. It's tempting to invest
aggressively to try and make up for lost time, but your portfolio
doesn't have any rebuilding years if you should suffer a string
of investment losses. You should be concerned about protecting
principal, both against investment risk and the risk of losing
purchasing power due to inflation.
Consider hiring a fee-based financial planner
to help you piece together what your needs are in retirement
and what you have to accomplish to have those needs met. The
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
can help you locate a fee-based planner in your area.
Take a look at what you can do in retirement
to earn money by working part-time. The extra income and benefits
earned in the early years of retirement will help your retirement
savings last that much longer and it will ease the transition
from working full-time to formal retirement.
-- Posted: July 6, 2004