Retirement expert details ‘3 things you got to do’

According to one expert, retirement planning can be demystified and distilled in three steps.
"There are essentially three things you need to do to prepare for retirement," Caroline Bruckner, executive director of the Kogod Tax Policy Center, recently told Yahoo Finance Live. “Number one, you need to save in a preferably tax-privileged retirement plan. Number 2, you need to have your individual savings on top of that. "
Read more: How Your Retirement Income Is Taxed
"And then number three, people tend to rely on social security," said Bruckner, especially women, which is often not enough. She encourages Americans to look at individual retirement accounts or IRAs.
"IRAs [and] Roth IRAs are things that most Americans don't necessarily use the way they should," Bruckner said.
For people who do not have access to company retirement, Bruckner pointed out that setting up an IRA or a Roth IRA can be done online relatively easily and at minimal cost, depending on their income.
"Income eligibility rules are pretty generous for most low- and middle-income Americans," she said, "especially for those who would otherwise not have access to a retirement plan."
IRAs and Roth IRAs don't benefit from automatic salary deductions like 401 (k) s or 403 (b) s, but Bruckner said "thoughtful taxpayers" can use their annual tax refunds instead.
Read more: How to get your retirement savings going again
Throw that money into an IRA if they otherwise don't have access to a retirement plan, forget about it, and just let it grow, ”she said. Annual IRA dues are capped at $ 6,000 and $ 7,000 for those over 50.
Investing in other accounts like "traditional retirement plans" like IRAs and 401 (k) s "can really help underpin an overall retirement strategy."
"The sooner you can start saving, the faster the money will grow and establish your retirement," she said.
The Yahoo Money sister site Cashay has a weekly newsletter.
Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.
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