Your age should not determine whether or not you take steps to plan for a financially sound retirement. But, it should help you decide which steps to take. Use this quick and easy guide—broken down by age—to help determine what you and your financial advisor can do to develop, or improve, your retirement savings game plan today. (If you don’t have a financial advisor, learn how to find one.)
If you’re between the ages of 25 and 34 years old, you should:
- Start Early—Define your retirement goals and develop a strategy to tackle them. By starting your retirement savings early, you can reduce the likelihood of having to play catch up later in life.
- Take advantage of ‘free’ retirement money—Maximize all available matching 401(k) and 403(b) plan contributions from your employer. That ‘free’ money, plus any other dollars saved in a retirement account, may benefit from compound growth.
- Open an IRA—A Traditional IRA or Roth IRA may significantly improve your retirement readiness, especially if you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan or if you’re already contributing the maximum amount to your employer plan. (Learn the difference between Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs.)
- Start an Emergency Fund—Place 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses into a relatively liquid investment, such as a money market fund, to help you avoid raiding your retirement savings in the event of a financial emergency.
If you’re 35-54 years old, you should:
- Get a portfolio checkup—As you enter your prime earning years you should refine your retirement strategy. Review your retirement accounts with your financial advisor at least once a year to make sure your portfolio is positioned to help meet your retirement goals.
- Ramp up your savings—Increase your 401(k) or 403(b) contribution rate by 1% each year or put an extra $100 into your IRA each month. These modest amounts likely won’t put a major dent in your paycheck, but may significantly impact your retirement account balance as contributions and earnings may benefit from compounded, tax-deferred growth.
- Consider consolidating assets—If you have 401(k) or 403(b) assets with a former employer, consider moving those assets into an IRA. Many rollover IRAs offer more investment choices and greater control of your assets than an employer-sponsored plan.
If you’re 55+ years old, you should:
- Consider making catch-up contributions—If you are 50 years old or older, consider using your plan’s “catch-up contribution” allowance, which permits you to contribute more than the normal annual retirement plan limits. Review your retirement plan or work with your financial advisor to determine the amount you can contribute.
- Identify your retirement income needs—Forecasting your regular retirement expenses will allow you to set a budget. This will help you determine how much money from your retirement accounts you’d like to keep invested in the market so that it may continue to grow.
- Create a retirement income plan—You and your financial advisor can create a retirement income plan that takes into account market volatility, inflation and your investing risk tolerance.
- Decide when to start taking Social Security—Your financial advisor can help you with this potentially complicated decision, which involves several claiming strategies for you to consider.
- Review your estate plan—Changes in employment, family circumstances or the value of your estate are all reasons to review your plan with your financial advisor.
An investment in money market funds is neither insured nor guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although the Fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the Fund.
This material is provided for general and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice, or for use to avoid penalties that may be imposed under U.S. federal tax laws. Contact your attorney or other advisor regarding your specific legal, investment or tax situation