Friday 4 May 2007

Help with Retirement Planning

It's always good to review your retirement plan, or, if you don't have any yet - get one, now! For DIY types, is a very neat and tidy website with many useful resources for learning about various aspects such as expected longevity, early retirement, social security (US), effects of inflation and rising medical costs, and financial risks. Some potential ways to earn extra income in retirement are covered - reverse mortgages, annuities, life insurance settlements, retirement jobs, and social security optimization. The site also provides information on methods for saving money during retirement, such as mortgage refinancing, debt consolidation, downsizing and relocating.

There is a useful retirement calculator which takes variables such as your current age, income, marital status, expected retirement age, current savings, home value and mortgage and uses them to provide an estimate of whether or not you will have enough to meet a particular level of retirement income. For example, entering my current age (45), spouses age, combined income, etc. the calculator congratulates me for being in a position to likely have enough to meet my stated retirement income needs until I die at a projected age of 84. As with any such simple calculator, the results have to be taken with a grain of salt. There are a host of details that aren't allowed for - such as your future retirement savings rate, investment mix (and hence likely returns before and during retirement). Combined with the natural variability of returns and the difficulty in accurately projecting such things as future health costs and changes to the social security system, it means that such tools can never be more than a rough indication of how you are tracking to meet your retirement needs. Hopefully the results will at least indicate if you are in the common position of needing to make additional efforts to save sufficient to provide for a comfortable retirement lifestyle.

Enough Wealth

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