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People often think of warm beaches and cold drinks when they picture retirement. It can be, but only if you plan it right. Read this article for some useful suggestions on a more realistic view about retirement.

Figure out what is needed for retirement. You won’t be working, so you won’t be making money. On top of that, retirement isn’t cheap. It is estimated that prospective retirees should save between 70% and 90% of their income to live at their current standards after retirement. This is why it’s a good idea to plan ahead of time.

Start saving for retirement as early as you are able. The earlier you start saving, the better. Every little bit helps. The longer you have that money in a savings account, the more it can grow. How much you have saved will make a huge difference when you actually do retire.

If you don’t know where to start saving for retirement, check with your employer. Many employers offer not only a 401k savings plan, but also contribute matching funds. Regardless of how much of your income you should save, save at least the amount to get the full match. Never leave free money on the table.

If your employer offers retirement plans, take advantage of them! Contributing to a 401(k) plan can lead to lower taxes, and your employer may even contribute more on your behalf. As time goes on, compounding interest and tax deferrals on your plan will begin to accumulate, and you’ll be saving even more.

Open an Individual Retirement Account(IRA). This helps you place your retirement future in your own hands and keep your nest egg safe. There are a few different options available with today’s IRA plans. You have Roth IRA accounts and Traditional IRA accounts. Find out which one is right for you and take the next step.

Never spend your retirement money. Pulling money from your retirement fund not only reduces the amount of money you have for retirement, but it also increases your tax burden. You will also be responsible for early withdrawal penalties, tax liabilities and lose interest from the amount withdrawn from your retirement fund.

Leave your retirement savings alone. Taking money out will hurt you in more ways than one. You will lose out on interest, for one thing. In addition, you could have to pay a withdrawal penalty. If you are switching jobs, either leave the money where it is or bring it over to an IRA.

If your employer does not offer a retirement plan, ask if they would be willing to start them. There are several easy to operate a retirement plan. One of the easiest plans to begin is a 401k plan. If your employer decides to offer a 401k plan, see if the employer will offer a matching plan.

Retirement does no mean that you will have nothing to do. On the contrary, you can fill your days with many rich in rewarding activities. There are numerous classes that you can take and many volunteer opportunities that you can get involved in. Do some research and you will find something that you like.

Diversify your retirement savings. Do not put all of it into bonds or stocks alone. Always keep some in bonds, but do slant more towards stocks the younger you are. Even within stocks, there are further options ranging from conservative dividend producing stocks to more risky but growth oriented value stocks.

Retirement is more than sitting on the beach with a fancy drink. One’s retirement can go terribly bad if they have not prepared themselves properly. Having read this whole article, you are mentally prepared for this part of your life.