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As you're getting ready for retirement and your second life, you're probably going to come across phrases and words like "retirement fund," "pension," and "annuity" quite a bit. But exactly what are these things, and what do they mean for you? The general phrase "retirement fund" covers several different ways to-well, to fund your retirement. Our grandparents and parents, for example, have pensions. These are employerprovided retirement funds that give our parents and grandparents a more-or-less guaranteed monthly income in their retirement. Social Security is another kind of retirement fund. Only with Social Security, we pay into the fund in the hopes of getting at least a partial return on our investment when it comes time to retire into our second lives. Annuities are a form of retirement fund where you pay a lump sum into an annuity management company in return for an income that's guaranteed to you every year. And finally, we all know about 401Ks, right? An alternative to pensions, 401K programs are employer-sponsored retirement funds in which we invest our money in the hopes of creating a solid amount of savings for our retirement. Some employers match our contributions, some don't. So what are the differences among these retirement funds, and what do they mean for us? As you're probably already aware, pensions are a dying breed of retirement fund. Even many people who are living on pensions now can't necessarily count on them. For example, just look up what GM is doing with the pensions of its former white collar workers. Social Security is somewhat guaranteed, as long as the federal government doesn't run out of money. And the thing is, demographics are changing to the point that this retirement fund just might go broke. Social Security was a great idea when most of the people in the country were working age and were able to pay into the fund to subsidize retirees. However, we're increasingly becoming a country of older people, retirees living our second lives. There will be fewer younger people to fund our retirements than there were to pay for our grandparents' and parents' retirements. With this in mind, it's a good idea to think of Social Security as a potential bonus retirement fund, not our main one. Many people do like annuities, but they are complicated investment vehicles that can have lots of ramifications on your tax bill and your ability to leave your children an inheritance. I don't believe anyone should use an annuity as their retirement fund unless they're able to get professional


advice they can trust when choosing one. Finally, we all know what's happened to our 401Ks, don't we? With the financial crisis and recession, it's the rare 401K that has the same value it did even a few years ago. So where is our generation to turn when the retirement funds our parents counted on are either dying fast or may well die in our lifetimes? If we're going to give ourselves the second lives we deserve, we simply cannot count on Wall Street or Washington to take care of us. We have to take care of funding our retirement ourselves and of managing our own wealth so we don't have to depend on an industry that's proven itself corrupt and incompetent. I get into options for your retirement fund in other articles, in my e-book, and on my website. Today, though, the thing you need to remember is that you can't count on anyone else to fund your retirement! And the good news is that, if you follow the right systems, creating a great second life for yourself isn't that hard to do.

Joyce Becker is a successful marketing entrepreneur living in New Jersey with her husband of over 30 years. Joyce is also a trailblazer. As a woman and a Baby Boomer, she has broken molds, working in a variety of careers and providing inspiration to countless women whose lives have been touched by her spirit and energy through http://retirementplanningtip.com/ar/retirementfund.php.

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