Planning for Retirement

Planning for Retirement

Although most people know the importance of retirement planning, approximately 65% of high net-worth investors don’t have an investment strategy in place. Very risky.

Whether self-employed or the head of a large enterprise, entrepreneurs who devise a retirement plan benefit themselves and their companies. It’s never too soon to get started, but most importantly, it’s never too late to start planning for a happy, secure retirement.

With resources available through a local bank officer, a financial planner or even online web sites, establishing a retirement plan is easier than ever. The best plan includes a systematic means to secure the future for all involved, which may require outsourced, professional help to tighten operation budgets and evaluate savings plans.

Working with an investment professional:

  • Define and prioritize personal retirement concerns including expected expenses, lifestyle changes and all sources of income from savings, pensions and Social Security. Include an inflation factor for both expenses and income.
  • Assess the needs of the company and its employees.
  • Devise and implement a plan that balances personal needs with those of employees and the business.
  • Track and manage the retirement program’s portfolio and implement regular reviews.

Financial (Retirement) Planners: Worth the Investment?

Some business owners design their own retirement plans, particularly if they work in a finance-related field. However, most of us are not experts on taxes, asset allocation, risk management and other retirement issues. In these cases, consulting a practicing professional makes good sense.

Before signing a contract, interview at least three candidates to insure the best choice. Ask specific questions:

  • What are your credentials?
  • Do you have references?
  • What is the fee structure?
  • What is your area of expertise?
  • Will you act as my fiduciary?
  • What services can I expect?
  • How will we settle disputes?

Choose a professional credentialed through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. The Web site, www.cfp.net/search, provides a geographic listing of all qualified individuals with current certifications.

Other reliable resources are the Financial Planning Association, www.fpanet.org and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors at www.napfa.org.

Beginning the Process

A realistic attitude drives retirement planning. Goals address how much money is needed and where it will come from. While a number of analysts say age 55 is the benchmark, others suggest beginning as early as possible to save enough for post-retirement income of approximately 70% to 80% of work income. Of course, business owners who expect to spend a significant amount on travel or other pastimes should to increase their long-term savings contributions.

To estimate overall savings requirements, make calculations based on the following factors:

  • Social Security eligibility and estimates
  • Net worth worksheet (assets versus liabilities)
  • Minimum distribution at retirement
  • College tuition savings needs
  • Compounding savings for long-term growth
  • Taxed versus tax-free yields

The Path to Investing web site, www.pathtoinvesting.org, provides calculators, worksheets and a wealth of information for establishing a retirement plan.

Today is the best day to get started.

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