Sunday, July 15, 2007

A time to plan

The Caribbean region has been slow to develop its occupational and private pension structures and this is certainly true in many of the smaller islands where little or no pension legislation currently exists.
Barbados is ahead of many of its neighbors in the progress being made on pension reform. The Cayman Islands has indicated its intention to reform its pension laws, which were only introduced some six years ago. Similarly, a Pensions Act is anticipated for Jamaica. Trinidad and Tobago anticipate pension reforms over coming months. There is even talk of pension regulations in the Bahamas, where no current pension scheme laws exist.
The United Nations estimates that the number of people over 60 will rise to two billion in 2050, from 600 million, with the ''oldest old,'' those 80 or older, increasing to 350 million from 70 million. They also projected that by mid-century; one third of China's population will be retirees.
It's never too late to get a jump on retirement savings, even if your job doesn't provide a plan. Save, save, save. Disciplined saving can be tough when money isn't automatically going into your retirement account before you can get your hands on it.
In the USA people who participate in 401(k) s typically get matching contributions from their employer. The most prevalent arrangement is a match of 50 cents for each dollar the worker contributes of the first 6 percent of salary.
So how do you jump start your retirement-savings effort? I signed up for such an arrangement a little over 10 years ago, and I can tell you that it's nothing short of amazing (the rule of 72) how within a few years even relatively small contributions turn into "real" money, not to mention money I'd probably had spent on meaningless little things if it had been sitting in my checking account.
One final thing you can do to improve your retirement prospects is to keep an eye out for jobs that offers comparable or better pay and benefits plus a 401(k) or pension (or both for that matter). If you can land such a job and keep up as much as possible with the saving program you will really be on the express route to a secure retirement.
Were you born before 1964? What's the one thing you really want to make sure you do in your lifetime? Is your Must-Do Goal to open a restaurant? Pastor a church? Get in touch with a financial expert who can help you make your dream a reality.

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