Author: Eric Bayne
Many people, after having invested much of their money into a safe 401k fund, are ready to begin their retire with no money problems. But how many of them have actually taken the time to take a pen and calculator and begin to compute exactly how much of their monthly expenses that their 401k will actually cover? Many haven't, and many are shocked when they find out how much of a shortfall they have.About the Author:
Most people never take the time to map out a long term retirement strategy. For some reason, doing so never seems to rise to that level of importance. Sure they'll save a little here and there and some may even have a structured savings plan where a certain amount of money is taken out of their paycheck weekly and deposited in a fund. But very few people go through the hard process of putting down in writing such basic facts as what age they plan to retire, how much money they'll need when they retire, and how much money their fund will provide for them when they retire.
And that's a big mistake. It's also why when the big day finally comes, many new retirees will belatedly discover that their 401K and Social Security payments will not even come close to covering their monthly dollar outlays. So, unfortunately, at the age of 65 or whatever age they retired they discover that they have to go back to work - sometimes part time but sometimes full time - in order to make ends meet.
So, why does this scenario happen so often? And is it avoidable? To put it bluntly - it happens because they failed to make themselves a retirement plan. And yes, this situation is avoidable - if you don't wait too late to start. So let's start now.
Here's a practical, easy way to at least begin to create a retirement plan. How much do you currently earn a month? Most experts figure that you'll need at least 60 to 80% of your pre-retirement gross income to keep you at the same standard of living that you now enjoy. So let's be conservative and figure that you'll need 80% to be comfortable. So, if you make $4,000 a month, your retirement fund plus Social Security payments would have to provide you with at least $3,200 a month.
Now ask yourself. How much will your current 401k fund plus Social Security provide for you at retirement. Is it at least 80%? This part may take a bit of work on your part, but there are calculators all over the Internet that can help you to answer this question.
If you discover that your retirement fund as currently constituted will not provide you with this 80% of your pre-retirement gross income, you have one of two hard choices to make. You either make a conscious decision to lower your standard of living when you retire. Or, you make a conscious decision to increase the amount of money that will be in your fund when you retire. You can do this by either taking extra jobs and placing the excess money in your retirement account or by choosing more profitable investments. Whichever decision you choose, at least you won't be going into your retirement years financially blind.
Now admittedly, this quick and dirty retirement plan analysis does not take into account many factors that a thorough analysis would. For example, we've left out factors such as whether your house has been paid off at retirement, whether you'll still be supporting your children at retirement, and whether you have other substantial debt loads. And it's more than worthwhile for you to map out a thorough retirement analysis plan as soon as possible. But even a quick and dirty plan such as this is more than most people do and is better than no plan at all which, unfortunately, is what most people have.
Eric Bayne is writer and researcher for http://www.retirementplanhelper.com . Visit his site to find out where you can find information on retirement plans for self employed .
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/finance-articles/can-you-afford-to-retire-when-you-reach-retirement-age-810064.html