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Stop to See Where you Stand

Make sure your strategy is still a good fit.

In your 40s and 50s especially, many big changes can happen. Each one should be big reason to assess your retirement saving strategy:

  • You switch jobs.
  • You move.
  • You get married.
  • You get divorced.
  • You become widowed.
  • You get laid off.
  • You start your own business.

Any of these life-changing events is a strong cause to seek out financial planning advice.

Are you saving enough?

It's likely you're making more money now than when you began your career many years ago. You can probably afford to increase your retirement plan contributions-possibly to the maximum amount permitted.

In conjunction with your 401(k) contributions, consider a separate IRA account for additional savings. Two different types of IRAs offer different advantages:

  • In a Regular (or Traditional) IRA, your earnings are not taxed until funds are withdrawn.
  • In a Roth IRA, your earnings are taxed, but your withdrawals are not.

Is your risk profile appropriate for your life stage?

Say you're halfway to retirement age.  You still have lots of time to put money aside.  But you may find the rewards of high-risk investments to be less attractive. Now you're thinking about locking in the gains you've made, but would still like to take advantage of strong growth opportunities when you see them. Talk with your investment advisor about restructuring your portfolio to better suit your risk tolerance.

Are you in complete control?

If you've changed companies, be sure to roll your retirement savings from your old employer's plan into either your current plan or an IRA. A rollover centralizes your savings, making them easier to keep track of. It's easy to do, you don't lose a cent of your gains, and there's no tax liability.

Be the master of your money: Know what's going on with your retirement savings plan. And schedule an annual review of your plan's asset allocation, risk exposure, and performance.

NEXT: Protecting What You've Put Aside