In order to plan realistically for the future you need to have a clear understanding of what money you need when you retire. This will include the cost of living and special activities you will have. It is estimated that you will need to replace 60% to 80% of your pre-retirement earnings in order to keep the standard of living you have had thus far.
Many employers allow their employees to contribute to an annuity program. This becomes an investment option in a salary reduction retirement plan. Under this plan your current taxable salary is reduced and in addition it accumulates tax-deferred earnings. Some companies have added annuities to their retirement list. If you work for a non-profit organization you'll probably be able to choose either a fixed or variable annuity or both. If you have a small business, or work for yourself, you can invest in a qualified annuity by setting up a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) or a Keogh. Many financial plans are available that you can adopt or you can use a specialist to create a plan for you.
When planning your retirement, it is important to remember that money, more than any other factor, will dictate most of your retirement decisions. Your level of financial preparedness for your retirement years will determine when you retire, what type of lifestyle you and your family will enjoy during retirement, and what might be left as a legacy to your heirs.
When you start organizing your portfolio you will want to consider how you will be spending your money after you retire. Some money will be deposited directly into your checking account; such as Social Security where as other income could be less predictable. It is always nice to get extra income you are not counting on but you must not plan on this.
If you want to invest in the stock market but don’t have a large enough portfolio to achieve the diversity you want through individual stock purchases, mutual funds may provide the solution you are looking for. Mutual funds are a collection of stocks designed to meet a stated investment objective or strategy. For instance, you may be able to choose between a fund that holds small- or mid-sized companies, large blue chip companies, or government bonds. Some funds are designed to provide growth, others to give you income.
If you purchased your home paying less than 20% down, chances are you had to purchase “mortgage insurance” in order to qualify for your loan. A mortgage insurance policy protects the bank in the event they are forced to repossess your house and sell it at a loss. As with most other types of insurance, you pay a monthly premium on top of your monthly mortgage payment for this policy. A mortgage insurance policy provides the means for purchasing a house you may otherwise be unable to afford, due to a limited down payment.
You may recall that during the final weeks of his life, former President Richard Nixon refused "heroic measures" and received only palliative (comfort-easing) care at his home. Similarly, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis refused life-prolonging medical intervention before her death from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Former President Nixon and Mrs. Onassis both retained control over their final medical care through use of a living will and a health care power of attorney.
A college education is an investment that pays off. According to The College Board's annual report, Trends in College Pricing, median annual income for bachelor's degree recipients is 80 percent higher than median income for those with only a high school diploma. Over a lifetime that difference exceeds $1,000,000.