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A head start on retirement planning

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By Reid Kanaley
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Planning for tomorrow is hard enough. No wonder retirement planning seems nearly impossible for some people. So get all the help you can, starting with these resources on the Web.
In the Just Explain It video blog on Yahoo, Jeff Macke talks about the biggest threats to your retirement income. Topping the list are medical expenses. In spite of the evidence all around us, we're prone to not anticipate the inevitable decline of our own health. Remember that Medicare, the government health program for older people, doesn't include vision, dental or long-term care, Macke notes. Another big overlooked expense: traveling for all those grandchildren's weddings and graduations.
The RetireMentors at MarketWatch include adviser Mitchell Tuchman, who in this post notes some of the ways people can wreck their retirements. One common problem is to start making risky investments in an effort to "catch up" after failing to save early in your working life. If you are halfway down the road to retirement, Tuchman says, "now is no time to stomp on the gas by taking wild bets in the markets. Increase your savings rate, cut expenses and find a balance of safety and growth."
Investing site Seeking Alpha recently had this post from Jarrod W. Jacinth on "retirement in a world without Social Security." Though not everyone else is, Jacinth is skeptical of Social Security's long-term viability. He sets out an argument for investors to choose stocks that return good dividends as the way to meet to retirement goals. His example: superbillionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which salts away dividend earnings from its top holdings to finance additional growth.
Get a job. If working during retirement is in the cards for you, here's some advice on how to do it right. The post by Angela Colley at MoneyTalksNews says older job-seekers can promote their experience and flexibility as advantages over younger workers. Colley also stresses the importance of keeping up with technology -- sometimes a difficult task for older people, but one that cannot be overemphasized in the current job market. She suggests a number of resources for getting a leg up on digital literacy.
So how do you start retirement planning? This "where to start" article at Fox Business gets at a point we've made before: Visualize your retired self. How is that old person doing? You need a plan, and you need to get into action as soon as possible. Answers to the problems of what you'll need in retirement and what path will get you there won't be set in stone as you age, but making some choices and acting on them will benefit you in the long run.



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