Here are six basic guidelines to keep in mind when developing your personal retirement strategy.
Guideline #1: Pay Yourself First. Establish a dollar amount you can save comfortably every month. Always remember, you are entitled to keep a portion of what you earn.
Guideline #2: Don't Bank on Your House for Retirement Income. A house is primarily a home... not an investment for your retirement. While you may eventually trade down when you retire, consider the equity in your home an emergency reserve, not a primary source of income.
Guideline #3: One Good Place to Save for Retirement Is a Company Retirement Plan. Remember to consider other tax-advantaged savings vehicles as well.
Guideline #4: Make Retirement Your First Savings. If your disposable income is limited, save money in your retirement plan before funding long-term goals such as your child's college education. Remember, your retirement is the largest expense you'll ever have to fund.
Guideline #5: Avoid Taking a Retirement Plan Distribution before Retirement. Transfer your plan's savings to an IRA or a new company retirement plan if you change jobs. Don't consider withdrawing money until you've exhausted all other possibilities.
Guideline #6: The Best Time to Start Saving for Your Retirement Is Right Now. Accumulating enough money to retire comfortably takes time.