Plan for Retirement

The average American spends
20 years in retirement.

The three major elements of your retirement portfolio are Social Security benefits, savings and investments, and benefits from pensions.  Financial security in retirement takes planning, commitment and, yes, money.

To help you plan for retirement each year  the Social Security Administration sends you your personal Social Security Statement. Your Statement gives you an estimate of the monthly benefit amounts you and your family may qualify for now and in the future; benefits, on average, are equal to about 40 percent of what you earned before retirement.  Once you've reviewed your Statement, you may want to explore a variety of retirement scenarios using a range of assumptions about your future earnings or when you stop working. You can do that with the Retirement Planner. The Planner not only tells you how to qualify for Social Security benefits, but it also includes a Retirement Estimator and Benefit Calculators that help you calculate your own benefit estimates.  Follow this link to learn more about full retirement age, how to apply for retirement benefits or Medicare, what documents will be needed, and more.

Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement (as provided by the U. S. Department of Labor:)
  1.  Start saving, keep saving, make it a priority, and stick to your goals.  The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to's never too early, or too late, to start.
  2.  Know your retirement needs.  Experts estimate that you will need at least 70% of your preretirement income to maintain your standard of living once you stop working.  You can request the Savings Fitness Guide to help with your financial future.
  3.  Contribute to your employer's retirement plan whenever offered.  Your taxes will be lower, your company may kick in more, and automatic deductions make it easy.  Over time compound interest and tax deferrals make a big difference in the amount you will accumulate.
  4.  Learn about your employer's pension plan.  Find out what benefits you may be entitled to from your spouse.  For more information, request What you should know about your retirement plan.
  5.  Consider basic investment principles.  How you save can be as important as how much you save.  Know how your savings or pension plan is invested, and remember to diversify to reduce risk and improve return.
  6.  Don't touch your retirement'll lose principal and interest, and you may lose tax benefits.
  7.  Ask your employer to start a plan if one is not currently offered. 
  8.  Put money into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  These also provide tax advantages.
  9.  Find out about your social security benefits (as described above).
10.  Ask questions of your employer, your bank or credit union, and your financial adviser...and make sure you understand the answers.

Brochures and other resources about retirement are available from the Social Security Administration. 

The following Web sites can also be helpful:

Information provided by the SSA and DOL.


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