Don’t despair if you are behind on your retirement goals. If it is any consolation, you aren’t alone; studies show many households are not adequately prepared for retirement.
Here are some things to consider when assessing your retirement savings:
Take advantage of available resources. Participate in your company’s retirement plan, particularly if they have a “matching funds” program. Not participating in this type of program is literally leaving money on the table and passing up significant tax advantages. If a company program is not available to you, consider establishing an Independent Retirement Account (IRA).
Seek professional guidance. A trusted planner can help you to determine the amount to withhold. They can also help you determine your tolerance for risk and map out a comprehensive strategy that will bring you closer to your financial goals.
Take an active role. When you enroll in a retirement plan, you spend time researching your investment options in order to make informed decisions. Yet most people fail to actively manage their accounts by rebalancing their allocation of assets when market conditions change. Rebalancing your portfolio every year to keep the percentages where you want them is the key to maximizing returns and minimizing risk. Also, if you have experienced a raise in compensation, consider increasing your retirement savings.
Finally, avoid cashing out early. Remember, if you withdraw money from your 401(k), you will have to pay tax plus a 10 percent penalty on any money withdrawn. This total tax bill will probably come to about 37 percent of the money you withdraw. Even your credit card companies don't charge an interest rate that high. For example, if you withdraw $10,000, you will probably realize only $6,300. You will have to pay the other $3,700 in taxes.
For more inspiration, consider participating in a free 9-minute online webcast titled Building Savings and Wealth.
You can also read a post by Pinyo from Moolanomy on securing your financial future.