Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Retirement Planning A-to-Z: Part 1

Your retirement planning strategy can seem very daunting with no idea where to turn. Over the next 5 weeks, we will break down the basic (and not so basic) tenets you must know to save and stretch your wealth during (and after) your retirement years, courtesy of the alphabet.

This week we present retirement planning A-E.

Always make sure you are seeking advice from an advisor who has specialized knowledge and training in this area. IRAs and other retirement accounts are unlike any other type of assets. Without proper education, even the most seasoned financial advisor, CPA or attorney can make a seemingly small mistake that could cost you fortunes. While this is the first item on our list, it may also be the most important. 

Be careful when moving retirement savings. If at all possible, move retirement funds via trustee-to-trustee transfer or direct rollover. By doing so, you can avoid potentially devastating mistakes, such as missing the 60-day rollover window or making more than one IRA-to-IRA or Roth IRA-to-Roth IRA rollover in the same year (365 days).

Contribute to your retirement accounts on a regular basis. Consistency is one of the most important components to successfully accumulating the retirement savings you desire. It may sometimes seem like you are far from reaching your goals, but by continuing to make your contributions year after year, you are far more likely to achieve your objectives. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Develop a plan. Proper planning is one of the most important steps to achieving a successful retirement and legacy plan. In our system today, you either create your own plan, or you’re given one by the government. Hint: Yours is usually better! Ultimately, all plans come down to three simple steps; figure out where you are now, figure out where you want to be, and then figure out the best way to get from here to there.

Educate yourself. Read an article, explore a website, checkout a book from your local library. Those who are the most prepared to make decisions usually make the better choices. This is especially true when it comes to retirement planning!

By Jeffrey Levine and Jared Trexler
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