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Independence Day: Plan for Financial Freedom in Retirement

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June 30, 2014

DENVER - As Coloradans prepare to celebrate Independence Day, financial experts are reminding them about the importance of preparing for financial independence in their retirement years.

According to Denver-based financial planner Bruce Allen, the first step in retirement planning is to ask yourself what your "end game" is.

"Planning for retirement means that there has to be a vision for what does retirement look like, what's your retirement ideal?" said Allen.

He added it's important to decide whether you're planning to work in some way during retirement, or would like not to have to.

According to AARP Colorado, between the years 2010 and 2030, the state will see a 150 percent increase in adults 65 and older.

AARP has online tools to help people calculate the money they'll need to retire, and what their expenses might be, including health-care costs.

Cheryl Matheis, AARP senior principal and counsel, said representatives of the organization are touring the country to make sure people know how to improve their retirement years.

"There are some things people can do, even if they are in their 50s," said Matheis. "They can adjust how much they save, figure out ways to cut back on expenses without really cutting back on their life, and they can consider whether they want to work longer."

Allen added that when to start drawing Social Security is an important consideration, since benefits increase by as much as 8 percent annually by delaying retirement beyond full retirement age.

"The three questions that people need to ask themselves about Social Security," said Allen, "'What does my health look like? How long do I think I'm going to live?' And, do you need to claim Social Security today for your income needs, or can you put that off and take income from other sources?"

In order to have $40,000 in annual income in retirement, most financial experts suggest starting with at least $1 million in retirement savings.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO