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6 Ways to Ensure You're Not Blindsided by Retirement

1. Determine How Much You'll Need.

While financial pressures play a big role in how much people save. Often times people undersave for their future because they don't realize how much they'll need when that future arrives.

30% of workers believe they can live comfortably in retirement with a nest egg worth less than five times their current income.

While another 27% believe a comfortable retirement can be had with a nest egg between five and 10 times what they earn.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates men need to have 12 times their annual income saved to retire comfortably. A woman, because of her higher life expectancy needs to have 14 times her annual income saved.

2. Don't Count on a Pension or Other Supplemental Retirement Benefits

Think the estimate from number 1 is high. In this day and age retirement benefits supplementing savings and social security such as pensions and company paid health benefits are proving to be the exception rather than the rule.

Expectations though haven't changed accordingly. 62% of respondents to an EBRI survey expected to receive a pension in retirement while only 41% were aware of a pension they or their spouse would be receiving.

3. Adjust Your Spending to Save More if Your Employer Does Cut Benefits

In the same EBRI survey of the 17% of workers who said their employer-sponsored retirement benefits had been reduced over the last two years only 32% started saving more to make up for it.

4. Start with the End in Mind

Ibbotson Associates, a provider of asset allocation and other investment research, suggests a goal of replacing 80% of your net pre-retirement income. Net pre-retirement income is equal to your gross pre-retirement income minus the money you've been saving for retirement.

If you are earning $60,000 per year and saving $10,000 a year, your net pre-retirement income is $50,000.

80% of $50,000 is $40,000 so your goal is to accumulate a nest egg that along with your Social Security and Pension benefits will provide you with that amount of annual income.

5. Don't Leave Money on the Table

Contribute to your 401(k) at work and make sure you contribute enough to qualify for the full matching contribution your employer offers.

6. Pay Off Your Debts

You don't want to enter retirement with any debt including mortgage debt because this will increase your monthly expenses so you'll need more savings to retire comfortably.

Plus any money you are spending on interest payments currently is decreasing the amount you can devote to savings.

And once you are out of debt you can use the money previously devoted to repaying your debts to generate a sizable retirement nest egg.

Submitted by:

Steve Miller

Steve Miller is co-founder of http://www.debtmd.com. A web site offering people free debt elimination software to assist them in a creating a personal strategy to eliminate debt and maximize savings.


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