When it comes to retirement pensions, questions abound. Will there be enough? How can I help it along? Where to put it?
If you are like me, these questions leave you with your head spinning and untold frustrations.
Overwhelming as it can be, getting it under control will make you feel more empowered.
Start by figuring out your income as well as your outgo for each month. That $4 cup of coffee once a day adds up to a
whopping $1,460 a year. Instead, put that into savings and watch it grow. Amazing how quickly you have a few dollars
Next you should estimate how much you will need for retirement. Perhaps it is still a long way off, but the exercise
will be a good eye opener. A useful tool is the calculator at "http://www.ssa.gov/planners/calculators.htm">www.ssa.gov/planners/calculators.htm.
Now that you have an idea of your future needs, create your net worth statement. On one side list what you own
(current value). On the other side list your debts. Subtract the total of your debts from the total of your assets to
get your net worth. Now you can plan what to do with it.
You keep hearing about people having financial planners, but you may wonder what they do, where to find one and how
much they charge.
There are many options. Some provide services for "free" (based on your employer's contract), some charge by the hour
and some take a percentage of the funds.
Anyone can call themselves a financial planner so look for key credentials. The most respected and recognized
credentials are CFP (certified financial planner), ChFC (chartered financial consultant), and PFS (personal financial
consultant). A CPA (certified public accountant) might opt to get some additional specialized education to obtain the
Before you trust them with your future wealth, know who you are confiding in. Start with some basic questions (for
more, see www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/askquestions.htm
What is their professional and educational background? What credentials do they have? Are they registered with the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the state or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)? How do
they keep up to date?
How long have they been in financial planning? You want at least 10 years experience.
Will there be a written contract? Do you understand the details?
How are the fees calculated? Is there a sales commission? Hourly fee? Are the fees negotiable? Know the actual
dollar amount it will cost you per year.
Can they provide references from clients?
Exactly what will you get? Do they sell or recommend products?
Have they ever had complaints filed against them or been disciplined by either regulators or a professional
The FINRA website has a variety of resources, including investment choices, risk meters and other tools and
calculators. They are worth your time! Now's is the time to start or expand.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 247-4355. Wendy Rice is family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County