Retirement Planning 101

Everything You Need to Know About Saving for Retirement

For most of us the quality of our retirement will depend on how much money we saved. While you may have some retirement income in the form of Social Security or a pension, more often than not it isn't enough. That means it's up to you to plan for and put some money aside for retirement. Here's what you need to know to get your retirement on track.

1
Planning for Your Future Retirement

retirement planning basics
Time can be your most valuable retirement planning tool. Sawitree Pamee/Eye Em/Getty Images
Having the retirement of your dreams takes planning. In many cases you may have 30 or more years to seriously think about what you want to do in retirement and how you are going to get there. Time can either be your greatest asset or your worst enemy. If you start early, time is on your side and your money can work hard for you. If you wait until retirement is just a few years away you have very little time to catch up. More

2
How Much Money You Need to Retire

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Saving $1 million for retirement is a common goal but you may need more, or less, to retire. courtneyk/E+/Getty Images
This is the million dollar question. How much money do you actually need to have saved up for retirement? The problem is that this number isn't the same for everyone. It depends entirely on what you want to do in retirement, at what age you plan to retire, and what kind of lifestyle you expect to have. Some people can retire with very little saved while others might need a lot of money in the bank. Learn how to calculate what your retirement savings goal should be. More

3
Six Retirement Planning Mistakes to Avoid

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Building a nest egg means knowing how to avoid certain pitfalls along the way. Andy Roberts/OJO Images/Getty Images
We all make mistakes, but making a mistake with your retirement plan can have lasting and severe consequences. Whether it's cashing out a 401(k) when you leave a job or not investing your money properly, a seemingly simple thing can turn into a major issue during your golden years. Here are a few retirement mistakes you should avoid to make sure you're on your way to the retirement of your dreams. More

4
The 401(k) Plan

401k retirement plan
Your employer's plan is just one option for saving for retirement. JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images
One of the most popular benefits that employers offer is a 401(k) plan. This is a retirement plan that allows you to direct a portion of your paycheck into an investment account. The idea is that you save some money on taxes by making these pre-tax contributions while also choosing investments that will grow over time so you can retire with a nice sum of money. There are a few benefits and drawbacks of the 401(k), so learn how you can best utilize yours if you have one available. More

5
The Traditional IRA

individual retirement account
An IRA can supplement the money you're saving in an employer's retirement plan. Kristofer Samuelsson, Getty Images
If you're interested in having complete control over your retirement investments, then an IRA is for you. These individual retirement accounts offer many of the same benefits of a 401(k) while also giving you complete control of where to put your money. Of course, not everyone is eligible and there are lower contribution limits, so find out if a Traditional IRA is right for you. More

6
Finding a Lost Pension

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A lost pension shouldn't be overlooked as part of your retirement plan. Richard Sharrocks/Moment/Getty Images
Did you work for an employer in the past that might have closed down or went bankrupt? Or what if your current employer is thinking about closing and you're owed a pension? Don't worry, your pension is likely still safe. Here's what you need to know if you're tracking down an old pension and how your pension might be protected in the event your employer goes under. More

Plan Early and Often

The retirement plan that works best for you may not be identical to what suits someone else. Regardless of how you approach retirement planning, there is one common thread: planning early and revisiting your plan regularly can help you to secure a more comfortable financial future in your later years.