Goals give you focus. To find and establish your investing and saving goals, first ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Do you want to build an emergency fund? Build college savings for your child? Have a large retirement fund by age 60? Once you have a defined motivation, a monetary goal can arise.
It can be easier to dedicate yourself to a goal rather than a hope or a wish. That level of dedication is important, as saving and investing usually comes with a degree of personal sacrifice. When you dedicate yourself to a saving/investing goal, some positive financial “side effects” may occur.
Among retirement industry trends to watch in 2018, along with how to save money in a 401(k) plan and other retirement accounts, is how to spend those savings.
A retirement industry think-tank expects a growing number of plan sponsors and industry stakeholders to evaluate retirement income solutions and de-accumulation strategies for DC plans. The expectation is that, with the growing impact on the workforce of an aging population, increased emphasis will be placed on the distribution of plan assets.
It’s not simply a matter of working harder; it’s much more about using your non-financial skills and talents in new ways to bring you prosperity and a greater sense of personal satisfaction. Here are five tips to follow when seeking balance in your finances.
The dust hasn’t yet settled, but a few things about the new tax law seem clear. Employees may have noticed a difference in their paychecks, and some projections put the average worker’s additional spendable income at about $2,000 per year.
What they will do with that income remains to be seen. While many will be tempted to improve their standard of living through purchases, you may be able to encourage them to take a longer view. As the increase in take-home pay is beginning to kick in, now could be the perfect time to point out reasons to increase retirement savings. Better yet, it might be the right time to amend the plan to allow for automatic increases in deferral amounts.
You can’t always envision what will happen in your “second act.”
Just as few weathercasters can accurately forecast a month’s worth of temperatures and storms, many retirees find their futures unfolding differently than they assumed. Your assumptions may be tested as well.
You may retire sooner than you anticipate. A majority of pre-retirees polled in the 2016 Transamerica Retirement Survey believed they would still be working at age 65, and you may be similarly confident. Unforeseen events might surprise you, though. A health challenge, a layoff, or the need to care for a loved one may lead you to retire earlier. The average retirement age in America is not 65, but 63. If you retire at 63, you can claim Social Security but you will likely be ineligible for Medicare. 
Having an investment policy statement (IPS) in place can help you more efficiently run your plan consistent with ERISA requirements.
As a retirement plan sponsor, you face a number of questions when deciding how your plan will be managed. What types of investment options will you offer in the plan? What are the long-term funding goals? What are the short-term liquidity needs? How will you evaluate funds and managers on an ongoing basis? To answer these and other questions, many plan sponsors create an investment policy statement (IPS), a document that defines investment policy and procedures and often serves as a road map for your plan.
You may have had multiple jobs over your career, and left behind retirement account balances of critical building blocks for your retirement. Here is a short guide to your options of what to do with a retirement account left with a former employer:
How serious is the problem of financial stress? Seventy-seven percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck,  41% give themselves a C, D or F in personal finance,  and 28% don’t pay their bills on time,  according to citations in a recent white paper from Financial Fitness Group.
Americans pride themselves on making their own decisions, and when to retire is an important one. But it takes money to retire, and the shift away from traditional pension plans leaves many Americans ill-prepared to retire when they want to. Employees who struggle with their finances find it challenging to save enough to retire on their own terms.
But saving for retirement through 401(k) or other defined contributions plans has become an individual responsibility. Some would like to retire at 55 or 60, but must delay retirement until age 65 when they become eligible for Medicare. Others may want to retire at 65 — the traditional age of retirement — but because of financial concerns have to wait to take the plunge until they reach full Social Security retirement age.
Without adequate resources, employees have less choice about when to retire.
If you are like many investors, researching, selecting, monitoring, and adjusting your investments and asset allocation within your retirement plan can be a time-consuming burden. One possible strategy to consider may be a target-date fund. 
A target-date fund takes much of the decision making out of which asset classes to own, at which percentage weights, given your estimated retirement date. As that “target” date approaches, the manager of a target-date fund automatically adjusts your allocations to reduce your market risk.
GRP Advisor Alliance is an independent network of retirement plan focused advisors. GRP Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with or endorsed by LPL Financial. LPL Financial and Financial Finesse are not affiliated entities.
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