Take Charge of Your Retirement Goals

Take Charge of Your Retirement GoalsAs you get closer to retirement age, it's a great time to check on your progress toward your savings goals. You should have a better idea of how much money you'll need, how much you have so far, and how you can adjust your plans if you're falling short. Here's how to see whether you're on track.

Estimate your retirement income. Find out how much you'll get from an employer pension at your chosen retirement age, and how much the payouts can increase if you work a few more years. Also, create a my Social Security account (www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount) to find out how much you may receive in Social Security benefits, depending on the age at which you retire. See Social Security Checkup for more on this topic.

Estimate your retirement expenses. Think about how much you'll have to pay each month for housing, utilities, food, transportation, insurance premiums, health-care costs, and other regular expenses.

Figure out how much you'll need to fill in any gap between your expenses and your income, and see whether you're on track to have enough in savings to make up the difference. The retirement savings calculator at www.icmarc.org/ontrack can help you with the calculations.

If you're falling short, consider your options — save more, work longer, reduce your retirement expenses. Even working part-time for a few years can make a difference. You can run several scenarios through the savings calculator.

Review your investments. As you get closer to retirement, it's usually a good idea to start shifting some of your money to more-conservative investments, adding a cushion in case of a market downturn right before you need the money. You may also want to keep some money invested for the long term. See Choose Your Approach to Investing for more information about your investing options .

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