Saving for Retirement: Covering Gaps in Your Planning
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Whether you stay in the workforce or take a hiatus to care for family members, retirement funding should not be ignored.Hanni K. Von Metzger

Taking a hiatus from the workforce — to raise children, to care for an elderly parent, or for any other personal reason — doesn’t mean you have to take a break from retirement planning. Even though retirement funds aren’t automatically deducted from a regular paycheck, you don’t have to experience a gap in retirement funding. Continue to contribute even during your hiatus.

“Opting to raise a family does not preclude you from saving for retirement,” says Hanni K. von Metzger, Vice President and Trust Advisor at Regions Private Wealth Management in Miami, Florida. “If you are outside of the full-time workforce for 10 years, which can be a big gap in funding your golden years. It’s important to keep squirreling money away, so that it can grow over time. Even if you stop working for a brief period, it can be challenging to make up for the lost retirement dollars.”

How to Make the Most of Retirement Planning Opportunities

Whether you stay in the workforce for the long haul or take a short- or long-term hiatus from a full-time career, von Metzger suggests keeping these points in mind:

  • Pay yourself first. From the time you start working, set aside up to 10 percent of your salary for retirement savings. Remember to pay yourself first before paying anyone else. A financial advisor can help ensure a diverse mixture of stocks and bonds that will match your comfort level with your life goals.
  • Plan for the retirement you want. Create a retirement plan and determine how much money you will need to support the lifestyle you want in retirement.
  • Carefully consider a professional hiatus. Think about if and when you plan to take a hiatus from full-time employment. The older you are, the longer it may take for your investments to show greater gains through reinvesting and existing capital.
  • Continue to contribute. If you opt to leave the full-time workforce, continue contributing to retirement plans, including individual retirement accounts. In 2016, you can contribute $5,500 to your IRAs; $6,500 if you’re aged 50 or over.
  • Stay up-to-date. If you take a hiatus, at some point you will need to prepare for rejoining the workforce. Make networking a priority, so that when you look for a job you have people to seek out for assistance. Will you return to your original career or head in a new direction? Whatever the case, stay technology savvy, and focus on jobs you want to pursue as you restart your career.
  • Stay focused. Stay the course when investing. Work hard to keep emotions out of your portfolio decisions. Working with a financial advisor can help allay fears in down markets and ensure that your portfolio is properly diversified and balanced.
  • Meet with your financial advisor regularly. Meet with your financial advisor on a quarterly, semiannual, or annual basis to help you determine what kind of gap you may be experiencing in saving for retirement and what steps you can take to narrow it.

Prioritizing your own needs in retirement over the needs of others isn’t always easy. But it’s necessary. “Women are busy, both at work and at home. They are juggling a lot of responsibilities,” von Metzger says. “But think about your retirement savings because you may be more concerned about others than yourself.”

Learn how to maximize Social Security benefits to further reduce gaps in retirement planning.

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This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.