Ways to plan for retirement

HOUSTON – Retirement can be defined as the enjoyment in life one is not able to experience when working.

Some 60% of U.S. workers have access to a retirement plan, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but a recent survey shows 36% of Americans said they have never had a retirement account.

First and foremost, it is not too late to start planning for retirement.

Brent Shepherd is a certified financial planner with Beacon Wealth Management (Financial Investment Planning Services | Beacon Wealth TX).

According to the insured retirement institute survey, 51% of workers polled have less than $50,000 saved. Sixty-seven percent of participants reported they regret not starting to save earlier.

“It’s an astounding number, but it is reality, the first thing that often happens for people is getting into debt, opposed to saving. So, we have to have a debt reduction plan and a savings plan, you can do both at the same time,” explained Shepherd, and added the lack of financial literacy education and interest contributes to this problem.

And as soon as someone begins to earn an income is when they need to start making saving a habit.

Shepherd suggests starting by taking a financial course that can get you on the path of saving.

“If you can save 10 to 15% of your income toward retirement or appraisable assets, you’re on a good path. If you wait later in life, you’re going to have to get more aggressive with that saving percentage,” he said.

Shepherd suggests checking with your employer for sponsored saving plans such as 401Ks, 403Bs and pensions. If not, Shepherd said you can still plan for retirement by investing in an IRA or ROTH IRA that can be established at a number of places including banks.

“We’re used to paying our mortgage or rent, we’re used to paying our utilities. It would be nice to be able to set up a bill toward savings. Whether it’s $50 or $100, something that says it has to get paid on a monthly basis just like all the other utilities,” explained Shepherd.

Fifty percent of your take-home should go toward your needs, 30% toward your wants and 20% toward savings and appreciable assets, so if you can, think of things like your retirement account, a house, something that appreciates.

Shepherd suggests finding a loved one who is also interested in saving for retirement to help hold you accountable and to share in the joy when those dollars start adding up.

Another option too is to consult with a financial planner. Just remember-- it’s never too late if you have not yet started.

Shepherd answered several additional questions about retirement planning in the video below.

Brent Shepherd is a certified financial planner with Beacon Wealth Management

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