Have You Forgotten About Your New Year Resolution for proper retirement planning
New Year’s resolutions never stick terribly well, as we are just a few weeks into the year and we have forgotten about them already, but if your resolutions were for proper retirement planning (and they should be) then you simply can’t allow them to lapse. Consider it a New Year’s follow-up, then, and perhaps take a cue from Robert Powell of MarketWatch and his recent list of eight retirement-planning resolutions for 2011. There is a good deal of specific information to be gleaned from that article and the entire eight resolutions, but it can also be boiled down to three age-old resolutions:
Resolution #1: Take stock of where you are, and maintain that awareness. It is all-too-easy to simply lose track of your accounts. Get organized, and keep records in a journal or software program. For that matter, keep in touch with the custodian or trustee of your accounts, and for simplicity’s sake consider consolidating under a single custodian. Moreover, learn and understand all the features of your accounts and how to best utilize them.
Resolution #2: Act on that knowledge and maximize all your strategies so they work best for you. If you have a 401(k) try to contribute up to the $16,500 maximum, and the additional $5,500 “catch-up” deferral if you are over age 50. To do this, make a contribution plan and stick to a schedule of putting money in over installments, rather than a rushed contribution at the end of the year. In another vein, are you in a position to take advantage of a Roth IRA conversion? Finally, consider rebalancing your portfolio.
Resolution #3: Keep a sharp eye on the future, both for planning opportunities and for your target retirement date.