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             "Now is no time to think of what you do not have, think of what you can do with what there is." This quote from Ernest Hemingway may be relevant as you analyze what you need for a successful retirement.
             Of primary importance to everyone is the amount of money they will need for retirement. Do you need <$10,000,000 or >$800,000 or some amount in-between? This amount is difficult to calculate because no one knows how long they will live, what rate of return their investments will return, or what the income tax and inflation rates will be. So most affluent people put away too much and leave vast amounts to their heirs. Those who do not save enough will end up on welfare from the government or their children. To add to these uncertainties, the government may change laws regarding social security, retirement accounts, and health benefits (including Medicare).
             So how can a person plan? You can just do a best guess. Take the projected income from social security (write to the Social Security Administration to find out) and add it to any other income you'll have (SS + other income = total income). Then subtract your projected retirement expenses (Total income - expenses = amount needed from pension). Will your pension have to provide 50% of your income? Maybe 60%. Contact your pension manager to determine what your pension will be at various retirement ages.
             Have you contributed the maximum amount to your 401k and put away as much as you can every year to IRAs? If not, you may be losing thousands of dollars from company-matched funds and income tax deductions. If you are self-employed, have you contributed to a SEP IRA?.
             Have you apprised yourself of the IRS rules regarding rollovers? Have you analyzed whether it is most advantageous to take a lump sum or a monthly annuity as your retirement distribution?.
             What about your residence? Can you move and take your $125,000 exclusion by buying a more inexpensive home? Can you increase your standard of living by moving to a retirement community?.

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