Retirement is like a deadline. No matter how far away you think retirement is, it’s always closer than it seems, which means the time to start saving is now. For those of you just starting, here’s a rundown of the basics of starting an account. For those of you who already have retirement accounts, here’s just a little more insight on what other expenses to expect from retirement.
Types of savings accounts
If your employer offers a 401(k), this retirement savings account would probably be the easiest for you to file away your savings at, according to Teresa Mears’ article in U.S. News. Usually your employer will match your contribution and you can choose to have the money withheld from your payroll automatically. For non-profits and public employees such as teachers, the equivalent would be a 403(b). Both of these can rollover to your new employer if you decide to switch employers.
Other common options include Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, if your employer doesn’t offer a savings plan. The IRA has the traditional IRA and Roth IRA. Eligibility for either depends on your income and the difference lies in whether your contributions are taxed before they go in or after you take your savings out.
Those who are self-employed or employed by a small organization also have options, such as the Simplified Employee Pension IRA (SEP IRA) or Simple IRA. The article linked above has much more in-depth descriptions into seven retirement savings accounts, so check it out to find what plan works best for you!
How much should you put away every month?
A good amount to start at is 10 to 15 percent of your income, according to CNN Money. To get a more specific amount and personalized projection based on your needs, you can try this calculator from NerdWallet. This calculator takes in your current income, age and savings, and then lets you know if you’re on track to reaching the amount you’d need to have based on your needs and wants for life after retirement.
Males should have at least $47,000 saved and women should have at least $58,000 saved for healthcare costs alone, and that’s including assistance from Medicare according to this article from Quicken with statistics from a 2015 AARP report. Women should generally save more, considering women tend to outlive men. These medical cost estimates from AARP also do not include long-term care, only visits to the hospital and doctors’ office. When you’re saving for retirement, also take into account the cost of medical care!
What if I need to cash out my retirement savings?
Cashing out your retirement savings should be a very last resort solution, but in the case you need the money and have nowhere else to get it, know that there are penalties, usually a 10 percent withdrawal penalty. In some cases such as hardship withdrawals, the IRS will waive the early withdrawal penalty, though rules change from plan-to-plan. Examples of hardships withdrawals include withdrawing because of a sudden disability.
If you decide to take a loan out from your own retirement savings plan, you’ll probably set up a plan that requires you pay back the amount to your account by a pre-determined date, and you’ll not only pay the 10 percent penalty, you’ll also have to pay taxes on the amount as well.
Use these tools and use the knowledge you have now to increase your potential for your own future. When you reach that golden age of 65, or earlier or later depending on you own desires, make sure that you can focus on your dreams and not just your bank account.