Questions to Ask When Planning for Retirement
Nashville, Ark. –
Should I save for retirement?
If you are just entering the workforce, retirement may seem a long way off in the future, however it will come soon that you think! For most people, saving for retirement may be as easy as contributing to your employer’s 401K or Thrift Savings Plan a certain amount of your paycheck and not thinking about it until retirement draws near. However, you should think about how much you are saving for retirement several times throughout your work career. It becomes more important the closer you get to retirement.
What type of lifestyle do I want to live when I retire?
Within ten years of your retirement date or sooner, this is probably the most important question you need to ask yourself. Just putting money into a 401K or other retirement account does not necessarily mean you will have saved enough when you hit retirement age.
What do I want to do when I retire?
Think about what you want to do when you retire. Do you want to travel? Do you want to spend your days on the lake fishing? Do you want to move to smaller home? Do you want to stay in your current home? Will you move to a larger city? How do you picture retirement? By thinking about these things before you retire, you can have a better idea of how much money you will need to make your dreams come true.
How do I know if I am saving enough for retirement?
Once you have your dream in place, it’s time to ask if you are contributing enough towards your retirement to make those dreams come true. Are you saving enough? There are several retirement calculators available online to help you decide if you are saving enough. To accurately plan, you will need to know how much you have contributed to your retirement savings. You will also need to know at what age you plan to retire, and how much you want to have saved when you do retire. The amount you need is different for everyone, and it depends upon what your dream looks like. A person who travels extensively will need more money than someone who prefers to stay close to home.
Once you have used a savings calculator to determine how much money you will need, it is time to take a look at your current retirement savings. Once you see the numbers, you may determine you are not putting away enough into your retirement savings account. If you have looked at your retirement plan several years in advance, the good news is you have time to adjust. Are you contributing the full amount your employer is matching? If not, that is your first step.
If you have been putting in the full amount, you are close to retirement, and your still need to make adjustments, you will need to ask what changes can I make towards my dream? Many retired people invest in rental property to use as additional income in later life. However, this comes with challenges too. Do you need to think about a part-time job in retirement? Covid-19 has proven that people can work from home. This may be an option for you. Downsizing your home may be a possibility. Look at all your options and be flexible.
Should you be saving for just you or you and your spouse? If you are a single-income household with a spouse, it is essential to consider them in the equation. Women disproportionately do not have retirement savings. This is an issue for women who choose not to work outside the home. While that’s a great choice, when making that decision as a family, you need to take into account retirement years too.
Young people often ask, “How can I save for retirement when there are so many other things I need to save for?” No doubt about it, it can be very challenging to pay monthly bills, save money, develop an emergency fund, pay for a home, education, and other necessary needs. How do you do it all?
You do what you can with what you’ve got. By putting in the maximum amount of money your employer will match on day one of your career, you will not miss that money in your paycheck because you don’t see it. Yes, money may be tight, but most people learn to make adjustments to live on what they earn. By matching the maximum amount, it is like receiving free money when you retire. Also, it allows your money to grow faster!
Consider these two things when trying to decide on prioritizing savings:
- Retirement is a major milestone that you can’t borrow for.
- Retiring comfortably is a HUGE gift to your children and loved ones. Paying for their education is nice but being able to retire and not having them worry about you financially is better.
Before you know it, your retirement date will arrive. Are you ready? Do you need to make some changes now to enjoy it once it does arrive?
The Howard County Cooperative Extension Service which is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has additional information to help you make informed decisions when it comes to saving for retirement. You can check them out at https://www.uaex.uada.edu/life-skills-wellness/personal-finance. You might want to take the America Saves Pledge to start saving now. You can do this at https://americasaves.org/. This website has lots of information and personal stories to help you save for the future, not only retirement but everyday savings tips! Check them out!
Here is an all-time favorite cookie recipe for many people. Emmie Trombley, a member of Nature Seekers 4H Club, shared this recipe at the recent Howard County 4-H Breads and Cookie Contest. They were delicious and won 1st place in the junior division.
- ½ c. butter, softened
- ½ c. shortening
- 1 ½ c. white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. white sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cream together butter, shortening, 1 ½ c. sugar, eggs and vanilla.
- Blend in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
- Shape dough by rounded spoonful into balls.
- Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll balls of dough in mixture.
- Place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake 8-10 minutes, or until set but not too hard.
- Remove immediately from baking sheets.
By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
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