Planning for Retirement

Review the articles below to help you better prepare for retirement.

    Assessing Your Budget

    You can’t devise a proper plan for attaining your retirement goals without first assessing your budget. To do that you need to determine how much you have coming in and how much you spend. Calculate your total income, then subtract all expenses and debts. Once you see where your money is going, you can decide if you need to cut back somewhere. If you need to lower your expenses, we can help. We offer:
    • Personal Loans — If you have a number of outstanding debts, it may make sense to consolidate them into one personal loan. With one loan, your payments are usually lower, and you pay less in total interest charges.
    • Loan Refinancing — You can refinance your current loans and get lower rates at your credit union.
    • Low-Cost Services — If you have a checking account or use other banking services at another institution, check out the same services here. Chances are the rates, fees and terms will be better.

      Saving for the Future with an IRA

      After you retire, your personal savings should be your primary source of support. One great way to boost them is with an IRA. IRAs were created by Congress in 1974 as a tax deferred way for Americans — particularly Americans without company-sponsored pension plans — to supplement their social security benefits. With fewer employers offering pensions, IRAs may play an even larger role in the future.

      There are two principal types of IRAs: traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Annual contributions to traditional IRAs may be partially or fully tax-deductible in the year in which they are made; distributions from a traditional IRA are generally taxable upon withdrawal. While Roth IRA contributions are not deductible during the year in which they are made, distributions can generally be taken tax-free. (For specific tax advice, please consult a professional tax advisor.)

      A high income may affect the deductibility of your contributions to a traditional IRA and the amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA. Even if your income isn’t high enough to be an issue, there are still legal limits to the amount you can invest in an IRA per year.

      Calling It Quits? Not So Fast...

      Before you set a date to leave the workforce, there are a few things you’ll need to think about first:

      1. Review Your Portfolio
      You should review the three basic parts of your retirement portfolio: employee retirement plans, personal savings and investments and Social Security benefits. Specifically, you’ll need to:

      • Discuss your retirement benefits with someone in your employer’s human resources department.
      • Consider reallocating some of your investments to reduce your risk.
      • Review your IRA portfolio to find out if you must begin taking minimum required distributions of any of the funds.
      • Check your latest Social Security Statement to see what you’ll have coming to you once you retire.

      2. Review Your Budget
      Add up the income you expect to receive in retirement and compare it with your projected expenses. If it’s not enough to maintain your desired standard of living, you may want to delay your retirement.

      3. Apply For Social Security Benefits
      If you’ve decided to go ahead and retire, you’ll need to choose the month you want to start receiving Social Security benefits. If you plan to retire within the next 12 months, arrange to talk with a Social Security Administration representative.

      How to Apply for Social Security Benefits
      Apply online or make an appointment for your application to be taken over the phone or in person at the local Social Security office. When you apply, you’ll need to provide the following documents:

      • Your birth certificate
      • Your W-2 forms or self-employment tax return for last year
      • Your discharge papers, if you served in the military
      • Your spouse’s birth certificate, if you’re both applying for benefits
      • Your children’s birth certificates, if they’re applying for children’s benefits
      • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status

      You may also be asked for the following information:

      • Your retirement date
      • Your date and place of birth
      • Your total earnings last year and the amount you expect to earn this year
      • Account information, if you wish to use direct deposit
      • Dates of any railroad work
      • The date and place of your marriage (and any prior marriages)

      Don’t put off retiring just because you’re having trouble tracking down a particular document or bit of information. A Social Security representative may be able to help.