There has always been a need for retirement planning and today is certainly no different. There are many other types of retirement plans that are available to you. You will need to take the time needed to evaluate what your current financial needs are and what you expect the future to hold.
You must keep in mind that your planning today is not just for the ideal future, but the future that will be reality for you if things turn out to not be ideal or according to your plans today. By starting early and contributing the maximum that you can afford, you will have a better chance of being prepared for the unforeseen.
Unsure of what you will need for retirement? Are you on track or not? Don’t forget that life expectancy is getting longer. Today you can expect to live 20-30 years past retirement and, suddenly, the amount you need to retire comfortably with a major change in lifestyle gets very large.
Lets say that today you need $40,000 to live on and you retire in 20 years, you will need a minimum of $850,000 to carry you through retirement. That is assuming that you will live an additional 20 years after you retire and are in good health.
There is something to be said for debt reduction as being part of your retirement planning, as well, since the last thing you want to do is go into retirement with a ton of debt still hanging over your head.
Having $40,000 a year to live on with little to no debt will obviously go farther than if you still have the same debt load as you do now. If you reduce your debt load by the same amount that you save for retirement, you double your retirement savings.
If at all possible, do not make any early withdrawals from your retirement account, since most people have found that in addition to the heavy penalties for doing so, the prospect of paying it back, even with good intentions, is tougher than it seems. An early withdrawal is a sure way of defeating the purpose of your retirement PLAN.