Understanding the Basics

Introduction

You've thought a lot about retirement. How would you spend your time? Where might you travel? Perhaps you've read some books on the subject, listened to the experts, and observed friends and family members make the transition. You're aware of some of the basics and you think you know some of the ups and downs. Maybe you've even thought about taking the plunge in the past, but now you plan to retire in the next five years. Retirement is a whole set of new circumstances offering you a fresh opportunity to lead a more satisfying life than ever.

But making the transition from full-time employment to retired individual may not be as easy as you think. There are plenty of things you'll need to do.

Nothing's changed... you're still planning for the future. And today, retirement can last more than half your working years.

If you haven't done much planning up to now, it is the perfect time to get your financial affairs in order. It is also time to start making decisions about your future lifestyle, wishes, desires, and needs. This section will help you distinguish between what's possible and what's not.

Getting ready to retire is a process. Retirement doesn't just happen to you; it is something you make happen. Retirement planning is a combination of cash flow planning, income tax planning, investment planning, estate planning, distribution planning, and lifestyle planning.

The purpose of this section is to provide you with an easy, step-by-step process to help you plan for your upcoming retirement.

Spend some time exploring this section. When you've done so, you will:

  1. know what income you'll be able to count on during retirement;
  2. know the types of insurance you'll need and how to go about getting them;
  3. be better prepared to finalize arrangements with your employer and the Social Security Administration;
  4. know if you'll have the income and resources to support the lifestyle you're planning;
  5. know if you'll have to modify your future expectations, including when you'll retire;
  6. understand the various ways to take money out of your retirement plans;
  7. be aware of the tax consequences of different distribution alternatives; and
  8. have a plan to retire, no matter what your situation looks like.
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