Retire Rich

Developing a plan to make your golden years brighter

You’re ready. You’ve finally come to the realization that if you don’t get started now, retirement may just become an illusion. And the earlier that you get on track, the better-especially if you have thoughts of being one of the few who can retire early and truly enjoy it.

B.E. is here to tell you one simple fact of life: It’s not too late. Whether you have just settled into your first job or are easing into your middle years, we provide a formula that will help you achieve your goal. On the following 17 pages, starting with this article, we show you how to figure out how much money you’ll need for retirement, provide the basics on investing in the tax-deferred vehicles that will help you achieve that goal, help you map out an early retirement plan, and identify long-term care insurance, what it is and whether or not you need it.

Yes, you can retire rich. First, you have to realize that retirement planning is, in essence, a numbers game. For example, if you think you’ll need $60,000 per year for a comfortable retirement, you may believe that you can count on $25,000 per year from various sources-say, Social Security, a pension, or rental income from investment property-and another $35,000 per year from your investment portfolio.

But now the calculations get complicated. How much do you need to accumulate so that you can make your $60,000 nut each year without running out of money? Once you have arrived at that number, how much do you need to invest each year to get there? That depends on the return you project from your investments, which, in turn, requires you to figure out the right mix of stocks, bonds, and cash. Finally, you need to factor in inflation. You’ll need to project what the rate of inflation will be when you retire so that you can maintain your lifestyle. But who knows what rate of inflation to project?

There are a few approaches to the retirement problem. First, we suggest that you read the black enterprise Wealth Building Kit (877-WEALTHY), which will help you figure out how to meet your retirement financing needs. (In this article, we provide you with the be Retirement Planning Worksheet.)

There are several methods you can employ to identify the figure you’ll need to retire rich. You can engage in the following:

nWork with a professional advisor. Most advisors have software programs to determine how much you should be investing for retirement and how your money should be allocated. Make sure you retain a financial planner who has solid credentials, who develops a formal investment strategy with you before trying to sell you anything, and agrees to meet with you at least once a year to monitor your progress.

Do it yourself. You can buy software programs such as Quicken and work through the numbers yourself. (Indeed, many advisors use Quicken.) Alternatively, you can go online. Mutual fund companies such as Vanguard (www.vanguard.com) and T. Rowe Price (www.trowe price.com) provide free

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