Take the Right Steps on the Path to Retirement

Can you believe another year has come and gone? By now, you’ve certainly already made (and even broken) your annual New Year’s resolutions. But here’s one resolution everyone should keep each year: Set goals for retirement and make plans for achieving them.

The earlier you start saving for retirement, the better off you will be when you reach your golden years. Even if that’s decades from now, it’s never too soon to begin building your nest egg. And if your retirement is just around the corner, now is a great time to reassess your situation and put your plans in order.

A Sure-Fire Strategy: More is Better

Whatever predictions you hear from so-called experts on TV (or in your living room), the only thing you can say with certainty about the future is that it will be filled with surprises. So if you think you’ll need “x” dollars to retire, you will be better off saving “x+y”! The more “y” money you can stash away, the less you’ll have to worry about the future value of the dollar, inflation rates or market returns. Since experts can’t reliably predict these things a month in advance, how can anyone know what their value—or the shape of the economy—will be in 10, 20 or 30 years?

Keep Your Money Working

One of the keys to retiring comfortably is keeping your money productive! You may need to explore several good retirement vehicles to come up with the best plan for your individual situation. For example, you may want to compare Roth IRA vs. traditional IRA plans. Although both have tax advantages, they are different in regards to rules, eligibility, withdrawal penalties and when you receive your deductions, so you will need to evaluate which will be right for you.

Fixed annuities also are popular retirement vehicles. They are generally regarded as safe investments, but may have better returns than some other types of safe financial products. Consider some of the advantages of annuities, which are also available from insurance companies.

Other insurance products can benefit you and your family before and after your retirement. Life insurance protects your family, while health insurance can supplement your Medicare. You may also want to consider the pros and cons of long-term care insurance.

Get Retirement Planning Help!

Retirement planning can get complicated, and financial or insurance professionals can help you make good decisions. An experienced professional should listen to your concerns, evaluate your unique situation and present you with alternatives.

Good luck sticking to this and all your other 2012 resolutions!

Guest blogger Marilyn Katz is the founder of, an online community for boomers.