Understanding the Basics

Calculating Your Personal Retirement Assets

There are several things you can do to make sure your personal retirement assets are still there when you're ready to retire.

Establish an Emergency Reserve Fund

Be prepared for unforeseen financial problems. Things sometimes happen that we can't control and if you have an emergency savings account, large problems can be converted to small problems. Cash in a bank account can be the solution—money that is liquid. A guideline: Your emergency fund should consist of at least three to six months of living expenses, which can give you time to find a new job if that problem comes up.

Avoid Consumer Debt

You can't build a solid financial foundation with plastic. If you use credit cards unwisely, they can stretch your foundation too thin. If you rely on credit cards excessively, it will be impossible to establish a financial foundation upon which to build. All your potential savings will be going to credit card payments. If you can't pay off your credit card balance periodically, then you're living on someone else's money, not your own.

Debt can be a good thing, but it can be very bad if abused. The mortgage you pay on your home is good debt. It is tax-deductible and builds up equity. Credit card debt, although not tax deductible, can be a useful tool as long as it is used carefully. Using credit card debt wisely is one key to being able to save and build a solid retirement fund.

Avoid Disasters by Using Insurance

There's no greater surprise than finding out that you're not properly insured. A death, ill health, personal disability, house fire, auto theft or natural disaster can occur in an instant... and wipe out a lifetime of savings.

Your financial future depends on having the right amount of insurance. Being over-insured is just as bad as being underinsured. Paying too much for the wrong kind of coverage means you're spending unnecessary dollars for something that may never pay off. You're better off taking those extra dollars and putting them into your retirement account.

Most people need five types of insurance:

  • Life Insurance
  • Automobile Insurance
  • Medical Insurance
  • Homeowner's Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
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