ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The question of retirement planning cannot be answered too soon, according to financial experts from Premier Bank and Trust.
"A lot of times people plan for retirement but don't realize there are things that could come up when they get into retirement that they don't expect," said Pam Shields, VP of Retirement Services. She added that unexpected health issues could arise or family members could be in need of money.
In addition, she noted that a retirement could be 20 to 30 years.
"You have to make sure the money lasts a long time," she said. "You should start saving as soon as you can or as much as you can for as long as you can."
One piece of advice is to get into a 401(k) early.
"A lot of people have not taken advantage of their opportunity to save," she said, adding that a key ingredient of the 401(k) plan is the payroll deduction, which can also be set with an IRA account. She noted that it is often easier and more convenient to put retirement savings directly into a retirement account rather than wait until the end of the year. In addition, individuals should increase their own retirement savings as they receive raises.
She noted that often a company will offer to match current payroll contribution up to a certain percentage. Individuals choosing to take such a match should be certain to defer at least enough money from their pay to meet the company contribution. Also, the more money they can contribute to a retirement account, the more boost to their retirement savings.
The issues are further complicated by the president's new retirement savings plan that is being implemented.
"It's something new we're going to stay on top of to help business owners and individuals take advantage of it," said Shields. "I think it'll be interesting to see how it rolls out."
She stressed the need for individuals to find an advisor to assist in keeping on top of ever-changing laws. While the full details of the laws are not yet clear, she noted there appear to be opportunities for individuals to save.
Denise Penz, Wealth Division Manager, added that the tax implications remain to be seen. At some point, it may be required that the account be rolled into a traditional IRA so that it can be regulated as a traditional account.
"This is a way the government is trying to get out of the retirement business. Trying to get people to take ownership of their retirement and not rely on outside sources that may not be there," Penz said. "Legislation, regulation, all those things change all the time." Having an advisor who will let you know of the changes is imperative.
"A lot of people want to take ownership of their retirement, but need assistance to do so," said Shields. "See an advisor to see if it relates to you and fits."
DeFrank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.