Take control of your financial future

Claire Damgaard, of Dubuque, is a financial services professional with New York Life. She also is writing articles for HER magazine. PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA REILLY

Retirement planning can be confusing. 401(k), 403(b), SEP, and who the heck is IRA anyway?

The following thoughts are intended to help get you involved, on track and engaged in a productive conversation about your retirement plan.

What to know

What do you want your retirement to look like? Is it drinking expensive wine in Europe? Curling up and reading a good book at a local coffee shop? Maybe just maintaining your lifestyle. Knowing what you are working toward helps determine what your “goal” for retirement should be.

What about if there is room in your budget that you can reasonably put aside savings for retirement each month? Keep in mind that the more you put away today, the more you will have later.

What to do

Talk to someone — a financial role model, someone from your work’s retirement benefit, a financial adviser. Anyone who can help you figure out if you are on the right path and provide the guidance that can help along the way.

Take the free money. Does your employer offer a 401(k )with a matching contribution? Not sure? This is a great way to maximize your dollars if it’s a benefit you can receive.

What to ask

Are you invested in a way that meets your objectives and will help you achieve your goal? Do you need to change anything? Maybe even the types of securities you are invested in.

What type of goal should I try to reach? How can I get there?

While it can be a daunting task, there are many resources available to you to help secure your financial future. This is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. Invite yourself to take a seat at the table and control where your retirement is headed.

Claire Damgaard is a financial services professional for NYLIFE Securities LLC in Dubuque.

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