posted in: Financial Security

Your Retirement Time Horizon

The earlier you begin saving, the better prepared you will be. These tips are tailored to the various stages of life you'll go through, and the retirement strategies you may want to consider for each one.

The Basics

Experts say you’ll probably need 75-80% of your working income during retirement, and your retirement income will likely come from a variety of sources. Below are the typical sources of retirement income for today’s retirees:

  • Invest in your future – Have a well-thought-out investment plan. Consider your timeframe, risk tolerance, and future financial needs and then make sure the investments you’ve chosen are the right fit for you. Along the way, events in your life may change your tolerance for investment risk. Be sure to watch for signals that it’s time to adjust your retirement investments.
  • Focus on progress – The amount you contribute toward your retirement when you begin is probably the most you can afford. As your income increases, plan to increase the amount you contribute, too. Over time, even a small increase can have a big impact.
  • Keep your balance – Along the way, your investments may become unbalanced if one type of asset performs very well – or very poorly. As a result, your portfolio may be more aggressive or conservative than you would like. Adjusting your investments to correct the imbalance will get your portfolio back in shape.
Where Are You?

Just starting to save for retirement? Almost there? Somewhere in between? Each phase of your journey to retirement has some specific actions you should address. No matter where you’re starting from, COUNTRY Financial® can help. In the meantime, see what you should consider doing for where you are today.

Getting started: 20s and early 30s

You’ll probably have to pay for more of your retirement than earlier generations, and that's why it’s important to start planning as soon as possible. The good news is that time is on your side. Here are some tips that might help you get started:

  • Try to save 10% of your gross income for retirement – more if you can afford it.
  • If your employer offers a retirement plan, enroll in it. Automatic contributions make saving easy.
  • If you’re self-employed, consider opening a retirement plan. There are a lot of plan options – SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, Solo 401(k). Your COUNTRY® Financial representative can help you decide which plan is right for you.
  • Contribute to an IRA. Even if you participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you can probably contribute to an IRA.
  • You can afford to invest aggressively because you have such a long time before you’ll retire. Make sure, though, that you’re comfortable with your level of risk.
  • If you change jobs, don’t be tempted to touch retirement assets. Leave them in the existing plan or roll them into an IRA. You’ll avoid penalties and any immediate taxes by doing so.
  • If your retirement plan is self-directed, learn as much as you can about investing. Financial security and knowledge go hand in hand.
  • Contact your COUNTRY Financial representative for guidance on how to build a secure retirement.

Time is on your side . . .


This chart is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to represent any particular fund or investment, nor does it address tax implications. Assumes reinvestment of earnings. COUNTRY Financial does not imply any guarantee of investment performance or benefits. The growth of your assets will be based on actual rates of return earned by the investment you choose. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

On your way: Mid-30s to early 40s

If you’re in your 30s or 40s, the idea of saving for retirement shouldn’t be new to you. You’re probably already participating in a work retirement plan and/or investing through an IRA; however, you may have other conflicting financial goals, like saving for a new home or your child’s education. Remember – you can borrow money for a child’s education and home; you can’t borrow money for retirement. Consider these tips:

  • With 25 to 30 years before you retire, you should consider placing a large portion of your retirement investments in securities (such as stocks) that offer the potential for higher returns. As always, your investment selections should match your tolerance for risk.
  • Consider increasing your contribution to your retirement plan.
  • If you don’t already have one, open an IRA.
  • If you have money at a previous employer’s retirement plan, you can leave it or roll it into an IRA.
  • If you have money from several previous employers’ retirement plans, consolidate them into one IRA. It will make your life easier, and it could save you money.
  • When you get a raise or bonus, put some or all of it into your retirement plan.
  • Even if it’s available, be cautious about using your retirement plan’s loan option. While it’s true that you’ll be paying the principal and interest back to yourself, you’ll also be losing out on the growth potential of any funds you borrow.
  • Contact your COUNTRY Financial representative for help creating a tangible plan that includes all areas of your financial security picture.
Crunch time: Mid-40s to early 50s

More than half of Americans participating in a recent survey1 said they are behind schedule when it comes to planning and saving for retirement. Almost a third said they are behind by “a lot.” Are you on track with your planning and savings? Here are some tips that might help:

  • Contribute the maximum to your workplace retirement plan and/or IRA. Aim for 20% or more of your gross income, if possible.
  • Review your entire portfolio of retirement assets and make sure they’re allocated appropriately.
  • This may be a good time to start becoming more conservative in your investment mix. However, if you can handle the risk, don’t cut stocks out of your mix entirely.
  • At age 50, take advantage of the catch-up contribution that is available on most retirement plans.
  • Consider purchasing long-term care insurance.
  • Meet with your COUNTRY Financial representative to get a detailed analysis of your situation and determine if you are on target for a secure retirement.
Behind in the Retirement Race?

If you find that you’re behind in meeting your retirement goals, here are a few ideas that might help you become more financially secure in retirement:

  • Reduce expenses and put the extra money into your retirement fund.
  • Take on a second job and invest that money in your retirement plan.
  • Retire later.
  • Refine your retirement goal. Can you live a less expensive lifestyle in retirement?
  • Sell assets that aren’t producing much income or growth – undeveloped land or a vacation home. Invest the proceeds in income-producing assets.
Just around the corner: Mid-50s and 60s

You can see it: Retirement! Are you ready? Now is the time to firm up your retirement income specifics and get answers to your questions about Social Security and your retirement plan distribution options. Will you have enough to live on? Keep in mind that you could easily live 25 or more years in retirement. Here are some tips as you start rounding the bend:

  • Review your sources of income – investments, retirement plans, Social Security, and savings.
  • If you don’t have it, consider purchasing long term care insurance.
  • Build up a cash reserve by putting aside two or more years’ worth of expenses in a cash account.
  • Consider a more conservative asset allocation for your retirement money.
  • If you’re still working, contribute as much as you can to your retirement plan and take advantage of any catch-up contributions.
  • Attend a retirement seminar.
  • Review your healthcare coverage in retirement options.
  • Pay off debt.
  • If you're ready to retire, contact your COUNTRY financial representative for help creating a tangible plan that addresses your retirement distributions.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

You've arrived: 60s and beyond

You may be planning to head south for retirement, but you don’t want your retirement plans to follow suit. Here are some tips to help:

  • Contribute to your retirement plans as long as you can.
  • Before you retire, determine how much money to withdraw each year and from which accounts.
  • You may want to tap taxable sources of income before you tap funds in tax-deferred accounts.
  • After retiring, investing requires a different strategy from the one you used while you were working. You’ll want to strike the right balance between growth and income potential.
  • Consider consolidating all eligible retirement assets into one IRA. It will make your life easier and could save you money.
  • Don’t forget about required minimum distributions – most retirement plans require that you must start taking them at age 70 ½ or face heavy tax penalties.
  • If you meet the requirements, consider contributing to a Roth IRA. This type of IRA doesn’t impose the age 70 ½ required minimum distributions rule.
  • Review your estate plan.
  • Consider an annuity for guaranteed monthly income.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration – 800-772-1213 – to determine your eligibility date and request an estimate of benefits, if applicable.
  • Contact your COUNTRY Financial representative for guidance.


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