This week, 16 through 22 October 2016, is National Retirement Security Week. The purpose of designating this week is to encourage individuals to take a little bit of time to think about their retirement planning and identify steps that they can take to prepare themselves for the future. In the private sector, some employers and non-profit groups may be participating in events to help employees think about retirement. For those in the military, we can have a Do It Yourself National Retirement Security Week.
First, if you're not signed up for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), sign up to contribute at least 1% per month. If you're currently contributing, up your contributions by 1%. Contribution amounts can be managed through your myPay account, so if that 1% breaks the bank, you can easily switch back to your old contribution amount.
Second, consider opening an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) account, particularly one for a non-working spouse. IRAs for non-working spouses are the only tax-advantaged opportunity for non-working spouses to save for retirement under their own names. Not only is it a great way to sock away a little extra money, it is a great way to help non-working spouses feel like they have some security of their own. What a great way to say "I love you!"
Third, think about what your future might hold. We can never predict exactly what is going to happen, as evidenced by the thousands of military members who have been involuntarily separated over the last few years. However, you can make some smart guesses, and some back-up guesses, and build a plan based upon those thoughts. Consider whether you need to diversify your income with a second income (either from a second job or spouse employment), start a small business, or build up non-tax-advantaged investments.
Taking the first step is often the hardest part. Take this week to think about your future. Check out the National Retirement Security Week website for videos, infographics, and other useful information about how much to save, retirement calculators, how to save advice, credit score basics, and much more.