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7 ways to up retirement ante

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Posted: 2 pm ET

If you aren't getting the most out of your company retirement plan, you're leaving money on the table.

Financial Finesse, a company that provides retirement planning tools and education to businesses and government entities, held a training session this week for human resource professionals. Here are seven pieces of advice from CEO Liz Davidson that employees as well as employers will find helpful.

  • Get an estimate. More than 60 percent of workers haven't attempted to figure out how much money they'll need to live comfortably in retirement. Find a retirement projection tool. Good resources include your employer's human resources department and the company handling your investments, or give Bankrate's calculators a try. Even if you are younger than 30, taking this step can help you get on track.
  • Pay attention. Read up on your 401(k). Study its investment options. Consider taking a risk tolerance assessment to gauge what kinds of investments best suit your mindset. Balance or rebalance regularly to keep on the right track.
  • Up your savings rate. How much you're saving is the one factor over which you have complete control. If your household income is less than $60,000 a year, it is particularly important to save something. Social Security will replace a substantial amount of your income, but you still need a cash cushion.
  • Don't forget your spouse. You are in this together. Dual planning can increase your options and improve your situation.
  • Avoid retirement plan loans. They reduce the likelihood that you'll achieve retirement security.
  • Don't look at retirement planning in a vacuum. Consider all of your priorities and get advice about balancing these demands.
  • Hold yourself accountable. Retirement is your responsibility. Save smartly, and the latter stages of your life will be much more comfortable.
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December 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I am eligible for a widow's benefit at a certain age, not far off. My own retirement benefits would be higher, but I plan to start drawing the widow's benefit once I reach full retirement age so there will be no restriction on my own earnings amount, and I will continue to work full time as long as I am able, hopefully to age 70, and in this way will continue to build my own social security amount. When I reach 70, I will then switch over to my own social security, which will be maximized and will be much higher than the widow's benefit.

alan, las vegas
November 07, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Hi. start early is the key, otherwise you will work till you are 70. I am not retiring till next year and I will be 67. now that I can, I feel there is no rush to retire, unless you really hate your job. folks just have to stop buying things that are going to go in the garbage. just think everything you buy eventually ends up getting thrown out. don't buy so much and invest that money instead.

October 26, 2013 at 11:34 am

Sustainable payout from an inflation adjusted, immediate annuity is about 3.7% for a 55 year old.

For each million dollars you have (;-) you'll have about $37,000 per year, before taxes to live upon. :-(

$500,000 will give you half of that.

If you've nothing saved at age 50, you'll have a tough time doing it by 65.

Reality sucks.

Bill of Delaware
October 26, 2013 at 9:07 am

Around age 50, most people aren't giving much thought to retirement. That's a mistake. That's the time to start looking at reducing depts such as college loans, mortgage and car loans, etc. No matter when you choose to retire you'll do much better if you have none of these depts. As to when to retire, obviously the longer you wait the more Social Security dollars you'll receive. But there are 5 years between 65 and 70. If you would average $1200./month over those five years, that's $72,000 you would never receive if you wait till age 70. So at age 70, how many years would it take to make up that amount? And every year, the dollars buy less and less. Something to think about.