In my early 40's, what would be the best moves to start ensuring a solid retirement?

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Answered by David Meyers, Financial Adviser in Palo Alto, CA
It's not too late!

First -- make sure you aren't carrying high-interest debt. Consider paying off any credit cards which are bleeding your wealth away.

Second -- make sure you're prepared for the unexpected -- in a couple of ways: (a) an emergency fund - usually plain old cash in a savings account - enough to cover full cost of living for 3-6 months; (b) insurance -- health, of course, as well as disability, and - especially if you have anyone depending on your income - maybe life insurance

Third -- now, finally, start putting money into retirement accounts. If your employer offers a 401k, and especially if the employer *matches* contributions (i.e., "free money") - put as much in there as you can comfortably put away. Most 401k plans offer default investment options which are some form of age-based target-date retirement funds -- those may not be the best options, but they are very often a very good start.

If your employer's plan either doesn't offer a match (no free money) -- or the employer plan is especially bad (unfortunate investment choices, high expenses) -- consider putting in only enough to get the match (if there is one) and putting anything more directly into an IRA or Roth IRA.

One more thing -- you're almost certainly paying social security taxes (unless you're covered by a pension, perhaps, such as many government employees get). Make sure you're getting all the credit for the SS taxes you've been paying -- log on to and get your SS statement and verify the entire earnings history they've got recorded there. They'll also give you a "protection" of future SS benefits, but if you're in your early 40s, while you can count on getting something -- you may not get quite what they project, since the system is not currently adequately funded for all the benefits promised. | 09.29.15 @ 20:32
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 12.06.16 @ 08:36
Answered by David Klenske, Financial Adviser in Carlsbad, CA
Make sure you are taking advantage of your 401K(if you have one) or an IRA. Start putting money away each month in annuity or a mutual fund depending on how much you are starting with. Keep it in a money market until you have at least 10,000 to invest. | 09.29.15 @ 21:41
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 12.06.16 @ 08:36
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