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Wealth Column: How to retire a millionaire, and is that really enough?

Having enough money to last you all the years of retirement is one of the biggest fears we hear from clients. A common investing goal for couples is to have $1 million dollars when they retire--and that's a great goal to have. But the question re...

Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on KLKS 100.1 FM on Sunday mornings.
Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on KLKS 100.1 FM on Sunday mornings.

Having enough money to last you all the years of retirement is one of the biggest fears we hear from clients.

A common investing goal for couples is to have $1 million dollars when they retire-and that's a

great goal to have. But the question remains, is that really enough to retire on?

We know this isn't the answer you're hoping for, but it depends. There are a variety of factors that determine how much you need to save for retirement, like:

• Whether your savings are tax-deferred or taxable,

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• Your personal and family medical history,

• Your lifestyle needs,

• How much debt you have,

• When you plan to retire.

These are just a few of the many elements you should discuss with your financial adviser when

determining how much you need to save to retire comfortably. For argument's sake, let's say that $1 million is your magic number after all. In that case, here are a few smart steps you take to retire a millionaire.

Start Early

One of the best ways to meet your retirement goals is to start young, even if it's only a little.

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Take Advantage of 'Free Money'

If your employer offers a 401(k) match as a part of their employee benefits program, contribute at least up to the match. If you're serious about saving $1 million dollars, it's likely you're putting away far more than that amount, but if you prefer using a different investment strategy than the one provided by your employer, it's still worth considering contributing the 4 o percent 6 percent in order to take advantage of the free money.

Save Smarter, Not Harder

The idea behind investing your money, rather than say stuffing it under your mattress, is that you can earn a return and watch your savings grow. It can allow you to live the lifestyle you deserve both before and after you retire, but only if you do it right.

Diversification can make or break a retirement savings plan. By investing across a broad range of asset classes and companies, you can be better prepared in case of a market downturn. With proper diversification, you are more likely to stay on a steady track towards your retirement goals than by throwing it all into a hot stock, or by shoveling cash under your bed.

Set Intermediate Goals

One million dollars is a lot of money and it might feel unattainable at the time. But think of it like running a marathon. You have to train and work your way up over a period of time by training for different, smaller milestones. In the same way that a marathon runner might start by running a 5K, you as an investor can begin by trying to reach for $20,000, then you build up to $100,000 and so on.

With all of that being said, it's important to know how much you need to save as you are using these strategies-and there are a lot of factors that will affect the amount of money you'll need in retirement.

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Talk to a financial adviser about your retirement goals to decide which strategies will work best for your unique situation.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

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