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RETIREMENT PLAN

Updated: 07/02/2017


 Retirement is your responsibility and problem.
 Defined benefit plans have lost most of their assets.
 There are ways defined benefit plans can be terminated.
 This can be devastating as you approach retirement age
 realizing all to most of your savings are lost forever.

 Are you sure you are preparing for your retirement?

    Despite what you have heard, defined benefit plans are very few today due to the ways employers or
    their agents have failed to pay attention to the management of funds paid in by employees and
    sometimes employers resulting in significant loss of assets or the entire fund itself. Promises of
    industry or government programs to reimburse employees for such losses have not proven to be
    realistic. Protect yourself.

    Retirement programs from various providers can be difficult to evaluate as there is risk in calculating
    what you need to save to be protected against the future. A member of your family may be stricken by
    Alzheimer's and need care. Medicare and Social Security will only pay for part of these expenses which
    can easily run above $8,000 per month per person.  Money drawn from your retirement for these most
    likely will be taxable. Government will require you begin withdrawing funds from certain retirement
    accounts before you are needing the money adding to your tax liabilities in retirement.  Starting
    retirement was once a straightforward process and how it is highly complex with many opportunities
    to make mistakes that can be very costly.

    There are a number of companies and individuals who can offer retirement planning and have a fee for
    their services. Because of changing economic conditions and laws, these plans need to be reviewed
    periodically to see if you are still on target to achieve the objectives and hopes originally mapped out
    for your needs.

    AARP is a good source for information to understand the landscape but can only offer this on a broad
    basis which covers a wide range of groups from various income levels, saving habits, investment
    approaches and ability to save money for retirement.

    Social Security should not be considered as your Retirement Plan due to the extensive debt owed to it
    by the US Government. The "Social Security Lock Box" may have a lock but the bottom of the box is
    missing.

    Vanguard Investments is another good source for information. What makes Vanguard different is the
    organization is owned by their investors; their employers work for those investing with them and not
    by a large holding company or corporation. This allows them the flexibility to offer services at lower
    rates. Brokerage companies today make a selling point about stock trades for only $7.00  Vanguard's
    rates can be as low as $2.00 depending on the total investments you have with them. Their indexed
    funds are often in the top performing funds from good management and low rates for their services.

    You are, of course, able to evaluate any organization of your choice to find somewhere that can help
    you meet your objectives, understand the impact of your choices, and start your savings. But it all
    starts with you taking that first step.

    Tips in your planning from an amateur:
      1.  Do you feel comfortable with the people you are handing money over to?
           Are they primarily focused on their larger corporate and high-wealth clients or are they serving
           all clients on an equal footing?

     2.  Are the offerings they have in terms of types of accounts and investment options something you
          feel comfortable with. Remember, these will be most if not nearly all of your life's savings.

     3.  Are you prepared to maintain a continued contribution to grow your funds to build a larger retirement?

     4.  Have you "shopped" brokerage company fees and expenses plus their returns versus what others
          are charging? We did not have a vote where our retirement money was held while employed but
          now the opportunity to find the best deal for YOURSELF is available. Some companies, like Vanguard,
          provide special cost structures for those with investment portfolios over $1 million which includes
          better returns, lower fees and additional services. Check with Vanguard and others, as some plans
          will drop you from a preferred plan as your investment are drawn against while others view you for
          their preferred plans against the maximum you had on account anytime in your relationship with
          them. For a retiree, this is music you can't ignore. 

     5.  Always remember that the universe changes along with the economy, good investment strategies
          and fees, charges, surcharges, expenses, etc. Always know what it gonna' cost ya' to put your
          hard earned money into someone's hands hoping to get it back plus a good rate of return.
          It is YOUR money that YOU earned and 
YOU saved and YOU will need for a SECURE RETIREMENT.





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