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Retiring Comfortably

People are different in many ways.  However, when it comes to retirement, we all want the same thing...to be able to live comfortably.

Everyone has questions...Am I saving enough for retirement?  Where does Social Security fit into the plan?  Do I need to invest more?

How will I pay for retirement?  Retirement planners traditionally have advised people to build a three-legged stool to rest on in retirement.  The first leg is Social Security payments.  The second leg is any pension you may receive from a former employer.  And the third...and most important is the money you set aside for yourself.  In recent years, some people have found the first two legs to be unstable.  That makes the third leg...what you do for yourself...even more important.

Can I depend on Social Security?  Social Security was never intended to be the mainstay of retirement income that many people expect it to be.  With our nation's financial woes, it is always possible that Social Security may be cut back or taxed more heavily.

Are employer-provided benefits reliable?  In recent years, many employers have reduced or eliminated pensions and related benefits, such as health insurance, that they previously promised to provide for retiring employees.  Retirement benefits can also be affected when companies merge, become bankrupt or are taken over by competitors.  While your current employer-provided benefits may look good now, there's no telling what the future may bring.

Do I need a personal retirement plan?  Employer and government benefits may change, demanding we make our own plans the center of our retirement.  You need to develop a personal retirement plan, set money aside regularly, and continuously evaluate the results of your plan.

How much should I save?  Saving for retirement demands two things...time and money.  The more time you have, and the earlier you start saving, the less money you will need to save.  A professional advisor can help you determine how much you will need to maintain a comfortable standard of living and can show you how much you need to save on a monthly or annual basis to reach your goal.

Where should I put my money?  There are many choices, it can be very confusing.  There is no one right place to put all your money.  Retirement money should be split into various investments...investments that you are comfortable with and that are aimed at meeting your goals.  Your professional adviser can help you determine where to put your money.

What keeps people from a comfortable retirement?  Procrastination is your biggest enemy when it comes to retirement planning.  The sooner you start, the better off you will be.  You may think you cannot afford to save for retirement now.  However, the fact is you may not be able to afford to wait.  A financial services professional can get you started on the path toward a comfortable retirement, and guide you along the way.

Go ahead and ask...Planning for retirement can be tricky.  Everyone has questions, so go ahead and ask.  Asking for help costs little compared to not asking...which could cost you your comfortable retirement.

John J. Brooking & Associates stands ready to assist you in your quest for a comfortable retirement.  Ask us for help and the experience of many years designing and guiding clients to successful retirement plans.