By:    Updated: December 18,2016

Planning for retirement is a process that takes decades. When you retire, you want to retire comfortably without compromising your quality of life. The task of saving a substantial amount of money seems daunting at first: some people need to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to live comfortably. Many people have difficulty managing their savings plans with rising living expenses. Knowing where to begin is challenging, and for many young people, retirement funds are not a priority. When people plan for retirement, they consider a combination of different investment options.

Social Security

When people retire, they are eligible for a monthly Social Security benefit that depends on lifetime earnings. Many seniors find that Social Security is inadequate for funding retirement. Consequently, people need a variety of investment strategies to retire comfortably.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

An IRA is a type of account that enables people to save for retirement. People can make contributions to IRAs on a tax deductible or after-tax basis. Account holders who contribute funds after tax can withdraw funds tax-free. This type of account is called a Roth IRA. Account holders who contribute tax-deductible funds will have to pay taxes on the money when they retire. This kind of account is called a traditional IRA.


Annuities are intended to generate income for retirees. You can obtain the benefit either by paying a single premium or by paying a monthly amount into a fund for a number of years. In turn, you will receive payments every year, half-year or month for the rest of your life or for a fixed number of years. Annuities are typically expensive, but some low-cost annuities are available today, often in the form of a whole life insurance policy. If you die before you start receiving payments or before you recoup your investment, then the beneficiary will receive the lump-sum or the annuity payments.


Many employers offer employees a 401k plan. With a 401k, account holders defer a certain percentage of their paycheck into a retirement account. Some companies will even contribute funds to an employee's 401k account.You can choose to contribute funds to a 401k on a pretax or after-tax basis. If you contribute funds on a pretax basis, you will reduce your taxable income for that calendar year. When you withdraw the funds after you retire, you will have to pay taxes.


Pensions are accounts that employers create to provide income for employees after they retire. These types of accounts are common compensation packages for employees working in the government, insurance companies, employer associations, or trade unions.

Self-Employed Retirement Plans

People who are self-employed will likely need financial assistance after retirement. There are a variety of investment options available for people who are self-employed. Many employees opt for Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Accounts (SEP IRAs). If the self-employed individual has employees, then all of the employees are required to receive the same benefits.

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