Posted On: 2007-01-22
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They say a worker is only as good as his or her tools. And the same is true of savers. Your savings may go much further if you take full advantage of various retirement savings tools available to you. And you'll know you're doing all you can to help ensure that you and your family will enjoy a secure future. We'll describe a three-step savings plan to help improve your retirement readiness, and to help get yourself on track for a financially secure future in this Fidelity Personal Finance podcast.
Of course it can be tempting to put off the task of setting aside money for long-term goals. The Fidelity Retirement Index, a first of its kind national measure of retirement readiness, recently found that 83% of respondents recognized that they were not saving enough for retirement. That was up from 78% in June, 2005. Fortunately, Fidelity can help you improve your retirement readiness in part by helping you identify the right tools for the job. If you're already saving for your future, congratulations. But simply saving, even over long periods of time, may not be enough. Fidelity has developed guidelines designed to help ease the challenge of saving for retirement for customers looking to make the most of tax-advantage accounts. These include employer-sponsored plans, such as 401Ks, 403Bs or 457s, as well as IRAs, both traditional and Roth IRAs, and, tax-deferred annuities. While these plans may offer general and tax related advantages, it's important to understand the differences between each one. Depending on your circumstances, the benefits of choosing the right plan, or plans, can make a huge difference in your long-term results. It could even make or break your retirement savings plan. That's according to Steven Feinschreiber, vice president of planning and analysis at Strategic Advisors Inc., Fidelity's investment advisory group. He was among a team of Fidelity professionals who recently spent several months developing a retirement contribution hierarchy, which ranks three major types of contributions in order of their appeal to retirement savers. The team's research also offers guidelines for choosing among different types of tax advantage accounts within each of the three broad categories. Ultimately, your retirement savings decisions should reflect personal factors, such as your age, current and future income, current and future tax brackets, and tax rates, and the rules that govern your company's retirement savings plan. There's no one contribution strategy that's right for every investor, but Fidelity's three-step process for tax advantage account savings, and the research behind it, offers a strong starting point. Let's consider these steps one by one.
The first step, maximize employer matched contributions to a workplace retirement plan. If you or your spouse is eligible for a workplace retirement plan, Fidelity believes you should strongly consider contributing the full amount required to receive the maximum matching contribution offered by the plan. For example, if your company matches 50% of employee contributions up to 6$...