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Take Charge Of Your Retirement Future

These ten simple reminders can help you get started and stay on track for a successful retirement. Copy this list and post it on the fridge, near your desk, or anywhere it will remind you that you are in charge of your retirement future.

Take Control

Only you can ensure that you'll have enough money invested for your retirement.

Know What You'll Need

Experts estimate that you'll need at least 70 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain the same standard of living once you stop working. Your retirement income will need to last many years. If you retire at age 55, you can expect to live at least another 25 years.

Start Now

Time is on your side. The sooner you start, the longer your money has to grow. It's never too early to start investing for a secure retirement.

Participate

An employer-sponsored retirement plan is convenient, easy to use, and one of the best retirement investing deals out there. Join today!

Contribute to the Max

The more money you put in a retirement plan, the more you'll get out – especially because many companies match part or all of their employees' retirement contributions.

Invest Pre-Tax in Your Company's Retirement Plan

Investing pre-tax gives you more money to invest. Because taxes take a large bite out of each dollar you earn, you have to invest more after-tax dollars to get the same impact as pre-tax investing. Plus, investing pre-tax lowers your taxable income which means that you'll pay less to the IRS on April 15th.

Pay Yourself First

Out of sight, out of mind. You won't miss the money you're investing if it's deposited straight into your retirement account, and the government, your employers, and your creditors won't be able to touch it.

Keep Your Hands Off

Don't touch your retirement investments. You'll not only avoid tax penalties for using the money early, you'll also give your investments more time to grow. Don't take a loan or withdrawal from your plan unless it's a real emergency. And if you change jobs, roll over any amount you receive.

Look Long Term

Low risk investments usually mean low returns and may put your finances in danger down the line. For successful investing, choose investments that will beat inflation over the long haul.

Be Flexible

As the years go by, life changes. So should your retirement investment strategy. Review it annually to ensure it still meets your needs.

Excerpted from Take Control with Your 401(k): An Employee's Guide to Maximizing Your Investments, by David L. Wray, President, Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America

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