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Create a better retirement financial plan in 2014

Another New Year is just around the corner, offering a new opportunity to improve life in any number of ways with a wise New Year’s resolution or two.

One good idea for many might be creating (or updating) a long-term financial plan.

According to a 2013 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 13 percent of workers are very confident of being able to afford a comfortable retirement, while 28 percent are not at all confident.

If you are among those with lower financial confidence and you haven’t started to save for retirement already, now is the time to begin - no matter what your age.

If retirement is near, you’ll want to jump into the fast lane right away. If you’re younger and retirement seems a lifetime away, it’s still in your best interest to begin saving now, as compound interest will work to your advantage. Experts agree that saving when you’re young will make a world of difference when the time comes to draw on your retirement savings.

You can check out the numbers yourself and start figuring out how much you will need for retirement by estimating your Social Security benefit.

Social Security’s online “Retirement Estimator” can help you estimate your Social Security benefit in minutes. The estimator offers an instant and personalized estimate of your future Social Security retirement benefits based on your earnings record. Try it out at socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

The Social Security Administration encourages saving for retirement, but there are reasons to save for every stage of life. A great place to go for help is mymoney.gov. This is the government’s website dedicated to teaching Americans the basics about financial education.

Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing your checkbook or investing in your 401(k) plan, the resources on mymoney.gov can help you.

Another excellent re-source is the “Ballpark E$timator” at choosetosave.org/ballpark. This online tool takes complicated issues, like projected Social Security benefits and earnings assumptions on savings, and turns them into language and numbers that are easy to understand.

Turn over a new financial page in your life with the start of a new year, and get started at socialsecurity.gov.

Ed Evans is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Seattle

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