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5 Reasons to Start Preparing for Retirement Now

Retirement
Young children and parents who have started preparing for retirement

The average American has less than $5,000 saved for retirement, and that sum would likely cover only a few months of expenses. Considering that the average retirement lasts about 20 years, saving now is important for your future.

Here are just a handful of reasons why you should start preparing for retirement today.

1. Social Security Isn't a Sure Thing

The average monthly Social Security benefit is about $1,400. That may not be enough to cover your monthly expenses and support a comfortable retirement.

But even more importantly, Social Security isn't a sure bet. By 2034, all the current money in the program's reserves could be depleted, which means that the government may need to cut benefits by 21 percent for future retirees.

Social Security helps provide many people additional income, especially lower-income older Americans. However, a separate retirement income — whether it's from an employer-sponsored 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA) — could help bolster your financial security.

2. You Could Maximize Tax-Advantaged Contributions

One advantage of contributing to your retirement while you are still employed is that many of the contributions you make to your retirement accounts likely have tax benefits.

For example, with a 401(k) and traditional IRA, you can contribute your pre-tax income, and any gains you make on this money won't be taxed until you withdraw it. Another benefit is that contributions to these accounts are tax-deductible, which helps reduce your taxable income and the potential taxes you might pay when you file your return each year.

3. There's Such a Thing as Compound Interest

Thanks to compound interest, you'll have the potential to earn more interest if you start saving early. Compound interest means that the money you contribute today could earn interest, and that resulting sum could earn additional interest on top of this (earning interest on interest).

To be clear, the stock market doesn't guarantee returns. The market fluctuates, so sometimes your contributions will achieve gains and other times they may suffer losses.

4. You Could Avoid Large Catch-Up Contributions

Someone who contributes over a 30-year period could likely accumulate more retirement income than another retiree who only begins to make regular contributions a decade before he or she plans to retire.

You can grow your retirement accounts quickly by making large catch-up contributions. For 2019, you can contribute up to $1,000 of catch-up contributions to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. You may be able to contribute up to $3,000 of catch-up contributions to a SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401(k) plan, or $6,000 of catch-up contributions to a 401(k), 403(b), SARSEP or governmental 457(b).

But for most people, it's likely easier to set aside a smaller amount over a number of years rather than having to catch up over a short time frame. Compound interest also plays a role here because the earlier you contribute, the longer the period for potential growth will be.

5. You Could Retire More Comfortably

No one wants to struggle in retirement. Even if you plan to retire at 65, you may not be able to afford it, so your only options may be to either keep working or to reconsider the retirement lifestyle you envisioned.

Starting early could help give you runway to help build retirement savings, so that you may have more options and more flexibility in your retirement.

Laying the Groundwork for a Better Retirement

One way to begin preparing for retirement is to start early. It's never too early to start thinking about retirement, and devising a plan today could help give you more financial security in your golden years.

We all hope to enjoy a comfortable retirement one day, but whether you're 25, 38 or 52, the moves you make now can help bring you closer to realizing this goal and safeguarding your financial future.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Information provided is general and educational in nature, and all products or services discussed may not be provided by Western & Southern Financial Group or its member companies (“the Company”). The information is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal or tax advice. The Company does not provide legal or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. The Company makes no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use. The Company disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information. Consult an attorney or tax advisor regarding your specific legal or tax situation. 

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