BOSTON (CBS) – Listeners have told me they’re not worried about retirement savings because they’ll have their Social Security benefit, but Social Security was never intended to be your only source of income in retirement!

And for the most part pensions have gone away for the private sector, currently only 5% of companies offer newly hired employees a pension plan.

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The public sector which are the government jobs provide pensions to about 84% of its workers.

Many employers now offer retirement plans where you contribute before tax dollars into an account for your retirement.  These are defined contribution plans; 401(k), 457 and 403(b) plans.

If your employer does not offer any retirement plan there are still things you can do to save for retirement.

Consider using an IRA, an Individual Retirement Arrangement, to save for retirement. If you do not have an employer-sponsored plan at work you will be able to deduct the amount you contribute to the IRA. You must have earned income and are limited to $5,500 a year unless you are 50 or older and then you can add an additional $1,000.

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The money in the account will grow tax deferred until you withdraw the dollars in retirement. And the government wants you to leave it in there to grow until you are at least age 59½. Try taking it early and the IRS will slap you with a 10% penalty.

And you must begin to withdraw the money from your account when you reach age 70½. Congress figures they have given you a deal with deferred taxes. You will start to get letters from your IRA provider before you reach age 70 so they can help you start withdrawals.

A younger worker should consider using a Roth IRA. With a Roth, you use after-tax dollars to make your contribution, but when you withdraw the funds in retirement, you will not owe income tax on the withdrawals. You must have earned income to contribute to a Roth, and you do not have to withdraw the dollars at age 70½.


You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.

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