Methods for retirement planning

Methods for retirement planning

If you’re like the majority of Americans, you have no idea how much money you’ll need to retire. However, experts use a quick guideline to determine your budget. They advise taking out about 4% of your savings annually, which means that when you reach retirement age, you’ll need about 25 times as much as you currently spend.

More than half of Americans are falling behind in their retirement savings, according to a Bankrate survey from 2021. 16 percent more people are unsure of their progress.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that, according to the National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI) created by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, roughly half of working households face a risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living when they retire.

But there are ways to make sure you don’t stray. No matter your age or financial situation, you can improve your ability to save by following the advice below.


What amount of money will you require to retire?

Dan Tobias, CEO and certified financial planner at Passport Wealth Management in the Charlotte, North Carolina, region, is quick to deflect clients’ inquiries about how much money they’ll need to retire by asking them what retirement entails for them.

Tobias queries, “Are they looking to drive a Lamborghini, or are they looking to move to a 55+ type condo in Florida?”.

Tobias can use some general guidelines after learning about the person’s retirement goals. One is calculating your lifestyle on 4 or 5 percent of your retirement savings, according to the conventional 4 percent rule. If that figure is off, you’ll need to either raise your contributions or cut back on your retirement lifestyle.

According to Fidelity Investments, as you get older, you should save a certain amount for retirement to determine if you’re doing enough.

  • You should, for instance, have at least your annual salary saved by the time you are 30.
  • You ought to have three times your annual salary in savings by the time you turn 40.
  • You should have six times your yearly income set aside for retirement by the time you are 50.
  • The target is to save eight times your annual salary by the time you are 60 years old, and ten times your annual salary by the time you are 67.

Bank of America calculated that middle-class earners would need to save 8 points 2 times their salary by the time they are in their early 60s in order to be able to confidently replace their income.The retirement calculator from Bankrate can give you a better idea of how much money you’ll need and whether you might have to work a little longer than you thought. However, it’s most crucial to be realistic about your objectives and to take into account the escalating costs of getting older, particularly those related to healthcare.

Roth IRA versus traditional IRA: which is better for retirement? the contrast between a traditional IRA and an. 401(k)

After deciding to start saving for retirement, you have a choice in how and where to do so. The individual retirement account, or IRA, is one of the most popular choices. Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are its two main subtypes.

An IRA’s main benefit is that it gives you a tax break for saving, but it also has other advantages like tax-deferred growth on your contributions. According to the type of IRA, different benefits apply. The two main IRA types differ in the following ways.

Regular IRA

Having a source of income is necessary. No maximum income, but depending on filing status and whether you are covered by a plan at work, tax-deductibility may start to phase out in 2022 at a modified adjusted gross income of $68,000.
Limits on contributions: $6,000 annually in 2022; $7,000 for those over 50.
The age at which funds may be withdrawn is 59 1/2 or later.
Tax advantages: If your income does not exceed the maximum allowed, you may deduct your traditional IRA contribution from your taxes. Until it is withdrawn, any money in the account can grow tax-deferred.
Early withdrawal restrictions: Withdrawing funds from a traditional IRA before age 59 12 usually results in taxation and may incur a 10% penalty.
Yes, starting at age 72, there are mandatory minimum distributions.


Must have a source of earned income. In order to make the full contribution in 2022, an individual’s modified adjusted gross income must be lower than $129,000. A partial contribution is permitted if the amount is greater than that but less than $144,000 (in 2022). The phase-out for married couples filing jointly starts at $204,000 and ends at $214,000 (in 2022). A backdoor Roth IRA, however, still allows employees to open an account.
In 2022, the annual contribution cap will be $6,000; for those over 50, it will be $7,000 per year.
Contributions may be withdrawn at any time, and after age 59 12 any amounts (including earnings) may be withdrawn tax-free if the account has been open for at least five years.
Tax advantages: With a Roth IRA, you can invest money after taxes and withdraw contributions and earnings tax-free in retirement. Any money in the account can increase tax-free.
Contributions may be withdrawn early without incurring taxes, but earnings may be taxed and subject to a 10% penalty.
No, you don’t need to be concerned about required minimum distributions.
These are some of the main distinctions between the traditional IRA and the Roth IRA, but there are also other significant differences between the two plans. It’s crucial to understand which plan suits you the best.

The 401(k), which is set up through your employer, is another well-liked choice for saving for retirement. Although a 401(k) and an IRA may provide benefits that are similar, there are also some significant differences.


The 401(k), which is set up through your employer, is another well-liked option for saving for retirement. Many people are unaware that their paycheck is being automatically invested into their retirement account thanks to the 401(k) plan. The employer match may be the 401(k)’s biggest benefit. Numerous employers will match a portion of or the entire amount you contribute to your 401(k), effectively giving you free money in exchange for saving for retirement.

Similar to the IRA, there are two types of 401(k)s: traditional 401(k), where contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, and Roth 401(k), where contributions are made with after-tax dollars.

Although a 401(k) and an IRA may provide benefits that are comparable, there are also some significant differences.

Income requirements: There are no upper income limits, but you must have a job that pays for the plan and earned income.
The maximum contribution for 2022 is $20,500, and employees over 50 can add another $6,500 to make a total contribution of $27,000.
Generally, after reaching the age of 59 12, funds may be withdrawn without incurring penalties. The account for a Roth 401(k) must also have been open for at least five years to avoid penalties.
Tax advantages: You don’t pay taxes on your contributions to a traditional 401(k) because they are made with pre-tax dollars. Until it is withdrawn, any money in the account can grow tax-deferred before being taxed. The Roth 401(k) uses after-tax money, so there is no immediate tax break, but money can be withdrawn tax-free when one reaches retirement age.
Early withdrawal regulations: You are permitted to make early withdrawals, but you will typically be subject to a 10 percent bonus penalty tax on any gains. For an urgent need, a hardship withdrawal might be possible. You might also be able to borrow money from your account under your plan.
Yes, typically after the age of 72; required minimum distributions.
Due to its significantly higher contribution amounts, lack of participation income restrictions, and employer match, the 401(k) is a desirable addition to or substitute for IRA plans.

Where to begin when saving for retirement

Here’s how professionals advise you to proceed with the various tax-advantaged options at your disposal:.

If your employer provides any kind of matching funds when you make contributions to the account, this employer-sponsored plan should be your first choice. The simplest and safest way to make money is through an employer match, so you should use it to your fullest potential. You should only think about investing in an IRA after receiving this free money.

2 – Maximize your IRA: Use your IRA if your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k) plan or a match, your 401(k) match has been used up, or both. Because of all its advantages, experts recommend the Roth IRA.

3. Next, maximize your 401(k): If you’ve reached the maximum contribution limit in your IRA but are still able to save more, you can return to your 401(k) and continue contributing up to the maximum annual contribution.

Four. Taxable accounts: If you can save even more, you can add funds to a taxable account, such as a bank or brokerage account.
Prior to moving on to what may be the best retirement account available, the Roth IRA, this ordering of your accounts enables you to secure a guaranteed return from the employer match. Therefore, you first secure the best benefits of these accounts.

How to increase your savings on a tight budget

You can maximize your savings even with limited resources so that you won’t end up in debt in the future. Some of the most practical approaches are listed below:.

Establish automatic donations. You won’t have the chance to miss it if you never see the money entering your savings. Automatic contributions can be a quick and painless way to incorporate savings into your budget, regardless of whether your employer offers direct deposit to multiple accounts or you set up your own account to automatically transfer funds into designated savings.

decrease spending. Reduce your spending so that you can save the extra money until you start to meet your goals.

Focus on the significant expense. Forget about cutting back on the occasional cup of coffee; your biggest expenses—housing, cars, dining out, travel, or anything else that costs a lot of money—are where you can save the most money.

Find a side job. If there are no ways to reduce expenses, you might want to consider starting a side business. Whether you choose passive income, a part-time job, or freelance work, a few extra hours per week can add up to a sizeable deposit into your savings.

It’s crucial to incorporate saving now into your spending plan. According to a Bankrate survey, the biggest financial mistake made by Americans was delaying retirement savings. As quickly as possible, you should start having your money compound your gains.

How to start saving money in your twenties

Ironically, you have to start early if you want to save for retirement. Making the most of the years you give yourself to save will help you fully benefit from compound interest. Aim to save as much for retirement by the time you are in your 20s as you do for a year’s worth of income.

Construct an emergency fund

Start out modestly. Financial experts advise you to keep six months’ worth of living expenses stashed away in a high-yield savings account. For someone who is just beginning their career, that is a pretty difficult task.

It’s not necessary for you to arrive all at once. Start with a month’s supply and increase from there. The ability to compound gains would be severely hampered if you ever needed cash and were forced to withdraw from retirement accounts. If you have an emergency fund, you won’t have to do that. To ensure that your money will be available when you need it, use a secure savings account. Shop around to find the best interest rates.

Begin your retirement savings

Utilize the 401(k) program offered by your employer

A tax-advantaged retirement account, such as a 401(k), is a good place to put away at least 10% of your income, employer match included. According to a November 2021 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 51 percent of employees who had access to retirement plans through their employers in March 2021 actually used them.

If you’re a new employee, you might be automatically enrolled in a retirement plan. While this is a great idea, you might be forced to save less of your income, say just 3%, than is advised.

Make sure to up your donation or, at the very least, set it to auto-escalate so that you contribute more each year. The most important thing is to confirm that your employer is providing any free match funds. Here are some additional 401(k) plan improvements you should make.

What to do if you don’t have a 401(k)

Consider a Roth IRA if your employer doesn’t provide a 401(k) or if you only work part-time. Despite the fact that you can save $6,000 (in 2022) in after-tax income, it will not be taxed when you withdraw the money in retirement because it grows tax-free.

As an alternative, you can contribute pre-tax income to a traditional IRA up to the same annual limit as a Roth IRA, and the funds aren’t subject to taxation until you withdraw them.

You can program your direct deposit to automatically contribute to any retirement fund of your choice, simulating the simplicity of a 401(k). You can reach your annual contribution limit by contributing the maximum amount of $500 per month to an IRA.

Invest early in saving

Assume that you begin contributing $6,000 per year to a 401(k) at the age of 22 and keep doing so until you are 67. By the time you reach full retirement age, assuming a 6% annual return, you will have $1.45 million.

With only 35 years left until retirement, contrast that with someone who starts saving a decade later. To have the same amount at age 67, that person will need to save nearly twice as much each year.

The 401(k) calculator from Bankrate will let you know if you’re on track to meet your retirement savings targets.

Think about increasing your stock allocation

A high proportion of your portfolio should be invested in stocks if you want to play it aggressively. You have a broad range of potential investments when you’re in your 20s. You can potentially profit from the stock market’s historically high returns, which average around 10% annually over very long periods, if you can handle its ups and downs.

Using the asset allocation calculator, you can build an investment portfolio that is balanced and appropriate for your time horizon and risk tolerance. To diversify your investment portfolio, lower your risk, and still generate attractive returns, many experts advise that you look to mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or target-date funds rather than picking individual stocks.

In your 30s, learn how to save

Try to save two times your salary by the time you are 35, with the goal of saving three times that amount by the time you are 40. All the good habits you started in your 20s should be continued, or if you’re falling behind, you should go into high gear.

Develop your emergency fund more

You really start to mature financially in your 30s. The majority of home purchases take place at this time. The average age of first-time homebuyers in the U.S. S. based on information from the National Association of Realtors, would be 33 in 2022.

But as you get older, your stakes get higher. Rent not being paid on time and a mortgage payment being late are two completely different things. You don’t want to lose your home because it might start to fill up with kids. The time has come to increase that emergency fund from one to three months to more like six months.

Boost the amount you save for retirement

It is especially crucial to start saving for retirement during this period of your life when you begin to make real money. Make up the difference now, and don’t be afraid to increase your savings target if you’ve fallen short of your 10-percent goal.

The moment has come to benefit from automatic increases in your retirement savings. You can program a direct deposit into your retirement account to grow by a specific percentage every year. You won’t have the opportunity to forget about the higher percentage since it is automatically credited to your account.

Alternatively, you can start putting more of those pay raises away in savings.

Get your spouse and you on the same page

Around this time in their lives, many Americans are getting married. This entails binding yourself romantically and financially to another person. The two have a way of influencing one another.

According to a survey conducted in January 2022 by Bankrate’s sister site CreditCards . com, 32% of Americans in committed relationships either spent more money than their partners were comfortable with or hid a financial account from them.

Infidelity in money, according to 11% of respondents, is worse than physical infidelity. Clear communication with your spouse about all financial matters, including the budget, the amount to save, and the retirement activities you want to pursue, is essential to achieving your retirement goals.

Saving in your 40s

By the ages of 45 and 50, save four and six times your annual income, respectively. In this decade, your savings rates can rise along with your income. You can still benefit from the power of compounding if you have at least two decades until retirement.

Clear your debt

Many families in their 40s might still have credit card balances. Eliminating that burden can significantly increase the amount of money available for retirement savings.

Enroll in a no-fee balance transfer credit card that has a protracted 0% interest period so that you have time to pay off the debt. With 15 $467 monthly payments before interest accrued, a debtor with a balance of $7,000 could pay it off.

Increase your retirement contributions by a comparable amount once the debt has been paid off and you are comfortable living without that amount of money.

Never become overly cautious

Don’t invest too conservatively because, at age 40, you’re still a long way from retirement, advises Ellen Rinaldi, a former executive director of investment planning and research at Vanguard.

Rinaldi advises reducing the percentage of your portfolio that is made up of stocks to 80% and placing the remaining 20% in safe investments like bonds.

As you re-allocate your assets, keep an overall perspective of all of your holdings. Concentrating only on the 401(k) is insufficient. Consider every one of your investments. Don’t forget about retirement plans or benefits from prior employment. You can invest however you like and roll over an old 401(k) into an IRA or your current employer’s 401(k).

Leaving money in a 401(k) and forgetting about it is a common occurrence, according to J. CEO of Retirement Management Systems, Michael Scarborough. They spend more time planning their vacation than their retirement. ”.

Reconsider your college savings

Ideally, you have been putting money aside for their higher education since your children were infants. If so, you’ll be able to continue making progress without taking significant amounts of money from your retirement savings. If you haven’t made any college savings and your 401(k) isn’t very strong, you might not have enough money to fund both.

Even parents of college-educated children frequently forego their own retirement plans in order to care for their children. According to a 2019 Bankrate survey, half of Americans have put their retirement savings in jeopardy to cover their adult children’s expenses, which can be a costly error.

People prioritize supporting their own children when forced to make a decision. The principal at the financial consulting firm Brightwork Partners, Merl Baker, predicts that they will put themselves last. They’re okay with working longer than they anticipated or had planned. Or they consent to a life of lower quality. It has a fair amount of power. ”.

Look for compromises that might have less of an adverse effect on retirement savings if you’re determined to help your child but money will be tight, like sending them to a local public school rather than an expensive private university.

Keep in mind that while you cannot borrow money to fund your retirement, your child may do so.

How to start saving money in your fifties

By age 55 and age 60, you should have savings equal to seven times your annual income.

Use catch-up contributions to your advantage

One benefit of turning 50 is the ability to make catch-up contributions, which allow you to increase your retirement contributions. People who are 50 years of age or older can contribute up to $27,000 to a 401(k) and up to $7,000 to an IRA in 2022. As soon as you can, seize these chances.

Dee Lee, certified financial planner professional and author of “Women and Money,” says of those who haven’t started saving for retirement: “It’s not hopeless.

In Lee’s story, a couple realizes they need to tighten their budget. After seven years, assuming the money grows at a rate of 7 percent annually and each contributing $10,000 annually to a 401(k), they will have a combined total of $180,000.

That is a big assumption, though. The stocks in your portfolio would likely have to have increased in value when you needed them to in order for your portfolio to be successful. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index represents stocks, which historically have returned about 10% annually, while the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund represents bonds, which over the past ten years have been chugging along at about 11%. You might fall short of your objectives if you don’t want to invest in stocks.

However, people in their 50s are usually too young to take excessive precautions.

This is not the time to use cash, Rinaldi admonishes. “You can maintain a 50/50 investment split between stocks and bonds. However, your portfolio needs to grow. ”.

Your retirement budget should be determined

How much is enough depends on your lifestyle, expenses, potential medical costs, and the level of support you’ll receive from things like Social Security and pension plans, among other things. Be careful not to set the bar too low when reviewing your savings objectives because you might spend less in retirement.

According to Harold Evensky, certified financial planner professional and founder of Evensky & Katz/Foldes Financial in Coral Gables, Florida, “people typically don’t downsize.”. “It’s not unusual for them to spend more in retirement than less. ”.

When a paycheck is no longer coming in, fill out a thorough retirement expenses worksheet to get a sense of where your money is going.

Obtain a more individualized account by speaking with a fee-only certified financial planner, and ensure that they prioritize your needs over their own.

Budget for medical expenses

Protect your finances from unanticipated medical costs. Huge medical expenses can easily deplete a lifetime’s worth of savings. According to a 2022 Fidelity prediction, a couple in their mid-60s will require $315,000 to pay for their retirement health care.

Then there is the exorbitant cost of nursing home extended care. According to a Genworth report, the average cost of a private room in a nursing home in 2021 was $108,405 per year.

The cost of medical care in the future must therefore be taken into account when planning for retirement. The cost of long-term health insurance, which covers things like nursing and assisted living as well as extended medical care, is one option.

The founder of Long-Term Care Planning Month, an awareness campaign that takes place in October, Marilee Driscoll, says that the initiative “has to be easily affordable not just for today but for the entire premium period.”.

How to start saving once you reach retirement age

There are still ways to save money and make the most of your lifetime earnings, extending them to cover the rest of your life, even after retirement age when it’s time to start drawing on your savings.

Make use of Social Security to your benefit

Benefits from Social Security may play a significant role in your retirement savings. Your eligibility for full benefits may vary depending on the year you were born, so you should research your best course of action.

Full retirement age, the age at which you can receive all of your retirement benefits, starts at 67 for those who were born in 1960 or later. Any person who was born between 1938 and 1959 retires in full on a varying scale between the ages of 65 and 67. Although you can start receiving Social Security benefits at age 62, you must wait until you reach full retirement age to get the full benefits.

Your retirement income is significantly increased by Social Security. Working with a fee-only financial advisor can be beneficial if you’re unsure of the ideal time to file for Social Security benefits.

Strategically plan out your retirement withdrawals

Choose the most appropriate time to access each account’s or plan’s funds before you start spending the money you’ve saved for retirement.

When your income tax rate is lower, your tax-deferred accounts, such as a traditional IRA or traditional 401(k), will perform at their best. Contrarily, a tax-free account, such as a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k), will be more advantageous when your income increases because you can access those funds without raising your taxes.

You can manage your income more effectively throughout your retirement years by putting tax-saving strategies into practice.

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