Sharpen your focus
on retirement

 
As retirement nears, it's more important than ever to make sure you're on track financially, and to make adjustments to help you get there.

Revisit your retirement plan

If you pass away without a will, a probate court will decide what happens to your assets based on the laws of your state. Here are some ways to help ensure your wishes are communicated and carried out: Now that you're moving into the home stretch, aim to conduct a thorough review of your plan at least every six months to assess your progress.
Several factors influence how much money you will need during your retirement:

Longevity: Be prepared to finance a retirement that could last 20 to 30 years, or longer.

Health: Medical and long-term care costs are usually the largest expense in retirement.

Lifestyle: How much money you'll need depends on your retirement lifestyle and your goals.

Taxes: Taxes will definitely be a part of your retirement, but there are ways to minimize their impact on your retirement savings and retirement income.Footnote 1

Learn:
While it is difficult to predict how much costs will rise, they will rise.
Even modest inflation of
3% per year takes its toll,
cutting purchasing
power in half

over 25 years
What's your personal retirement number?
Calculate how much you'll need to retire

Get back on track

If there's a gap between what you have and what you'll need, you can bump up your savings and investments, and consider adjusting your future plans.
  • Maximize tax-advantaged retirement accounts such as employer-sponsored 401(k)s, contributing at least enough to take advantage of any company match. If you find that you can save more, consider opening an IRA or Roth IRA.
  • Scrutinize your budget for costs you could eliminate without significantly affecting your lifestyle. If you're willing to take bigger steps, consider moving to a smaller home or to a state with lower taxes.
  • Put as much as you can in your taxable investment accounts if you've maxed out your tax-advantaged savings.
Read:

Take advantage of catch-up contributions

If you think that you'll need more money to live on in retirement and are age 50 or older, here's good news-you may be able to make additional "catch up" IRA and 401(k) contributions each year until retirement.

Catch-up contribution limits:

  2018
IRA $1,000
401(k) $6,000

Retirement plan contribution limits:

  2018
IRA $5,500
401(k) $18,500
If your spouse doesn't work outside the home and you haven't been making spousal contributions, open a spousal IRA and maximize his or her contributions.
Learn more:
Use the Net Worth Estimator
Determine your net worth with our Net Worth Estimator

Use taxable accounts to bridge the gap

Are your retirement account contribution limits affecting your ability to close the gap between your savings and your retirement goal? Open a Merrill Edge taxable investment account (or use your existing one) and make contributions beyond your tax-advantaged limits.
Be prepared to finance a
retirement that could last
20 to 30 years
or longer.
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Footnote 1 Neither Merrill Lynch nor any of its affiliates or financial advisors provide legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.

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