5 Things to Know About Retirement

When you think of retirement, what comes to mind? Here are five things to think about as you plan for your retirement:

5 Things to Know About Retirement

It's a great time for a fresh start.

Think 65 is too old to start a new career, take up new hobbies, or go back to school? Think again. After all, retirement these days may be 20 years or more. And that's too long to spend in a rocking chair. Instead, plan to spend your time doing the things you've always wanted to, but never had time for.

Your employer's 401(k) plan alone might not be enough.

Don't confuse your 401(k) with a pension. Your 401(k) does a lot of good by automating your savings, deferring your taxes until retirement (when you could be in a lower tax bracket), and giving your employers the chance to match some of your contributions if they choose to. But you can only benefit from it if it's well-funded.

Take the time to see how much income you're on track to have during retirement, and whether you're currently contributing enough to your 401(k). It’s never too late to bump up the amount you put in! And because that money gets taken out of your paycheck before taxes are deducted, contributing extra won't lower your take-home pay as much as you might think.

Social Security won't take care of you.

Chances are good that your Social Security benefits won't be enough to cover your living expenses. To get an idea of how much your monthly benefit might be, take a look at your Personal Earnings & Benefits Estimate Statement, which the Social Security Administration mails out each year. (Your monthly benefit will change over time, so check your statement each year.)

There's more than one way to go about it.

When it comes to funding your retirement, it pays to be creative. Chances are, your income will come from several sources, like savings and Social Security. You’ll also have lots of opportunities to stretch that income.

For example, if you're willing to relocate to a city with a lower cost of living, your expenses could go down by 20% or more. Downsizing to a smaller home can add thousands to your potential income. Many retirees take on part-time jobs they love. Or how about putting your skills to use by tutoring or offering services to your community? The choices for earning extra income or lowering your expenses are endless.

It's still within your reach.

No matter where your finances are at, you can always improve your retirement options.

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