Thinking of retiring? You may want to wait! - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thinking of retiring? You may want to wait!

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

October 7, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's a scary time for people close to retirement. Pension plans have lost as much as two trillion dollars in the past 15-months.

Tuesday, a panel of House leaders said those losses could cause many people to delay retirement.

Shirley Armstrong worked her way up from an instructor to one of four deans at Albany Technical College. She could retire in four years, but is considering working longer with the economy affecting retirement savings.

"I'm not in a rush, I feel like I'm very fortunate to have options," said Shirley Armstrong, Albany Technical College Dean of Academic Affairs.

Options that include a job she enjoys, besides her teacher's retirement plan and other investments. Analysts say if you can hold off on retirement right now, it's not a bad idea. If you're close it's a good time to rebalance your retirement plan.

"It's a time to rebalance that 401K and instead of perhaps worrying about selling some stocks it might be time to move a little provided the bonds have held up well over to the stock side," said Pat O'Lear, Wachovia Securities Vice President.

Pat O'Lear calls it a time for hard planning whether it's income or long term care insurance or a relatively new concept that includes turning some savings into cash before you retire.

"Get a year, or maybe two years, salary in cash and then you're not pressed to act," said O'Lear.

If you're younger, analysts suggest increasing the amount you contribute to your 401K because your money buys more now.

"This is a great opportunity. The rates of return on 401K typical investments after a slow down like this are very high it's when you make your bones if you will," said O'Lear.

The best advice is to get advice.

"I'm feeling okay, but that's today, that's liable to change in four years because we never know what's going to happen to the economy as we can see with the gas who would have ever thought," said Armstrong.

Everyone's situation is different and how you need to adapt your retirement plan may be different than someone else.

In a recent poll, more than half the people surveyed said they will have to work longer because the value of their retirement savings has declined.

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