12 steps to ensure a comfortable retirement

I found these tips on MSN’s money page.

1. Zero in on a retirement date
To know if you can comfortably retire, you’ll need to have a target retirement date, because how much money you’ll need and how much you’ll get (from Social Security and other options) depends on this.

2. Figure out where you’re going to live
Will you stay put in a paid-off home, or will you still have a mortgage?

3. Consider long-term-care insurance
There is no expert consensus on when you should buy this coverage, if you buy it at all. Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend the coverage before age 65, some advisers prefer their clients buy a policy before they turn 60

4. Don’t forget to include medical costs
Paying for health insurance before age 65, when you qualify for Medicare coverage, can be extremely costly

5. Deal with your debt
Ideally, you’ll enter retirement with no debt, but you definitely want to blitz any credit card balances or other consumer loans before you get there.

6. Draw up a retirement budget
Now that you’re almost at the finish line, you can replace the usual retirement rules of thumb (“plan on spending 70% to 80% of your pre-retirement income”) with concrete figures.

7. Review your Social Security and pension options
You can draw on Social Security as early as age 62, but the longer you wait to start taking payments, the bigger your benefit checks will be.

8. Check your withdrawal rate
The consensus among financial planners has been that you shouldn’t withdraw more than 3% to 4% of your retirement savings the first year, though that has its critics.

9. Consider an immediate annuity
For clients who don’t have traditional pensions and who can swing the cost, financial planner Sheryl Garrett, the author of “Just Give Me the Answers,” recommends taking a portion of their nest eggs and buying an immediate annuity. This is an insurance product that promises you a lifetime stream of income in exchange for a lump-sum investment.

10. Stress-test your plan
You now should have enough facts and figures to see if your plan will work.

11. Review your estate plans
Your chances of being incapacitated — too ill or injured to make your own decisions — rise as you age. Make sure you have updated durable powers of attorney for finances and for health care so that someone you trust can take over for you.

12. Meet with a financial planner
The decisions you’re about to make are too important to your future not to get a second opinion. Contact One Nevada‚Äôs Investment Group at (702) 641-4323 or visit oncuinvestments.com.

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