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Banking & Finance

FEATURE: SunTrust: How to Jockey your Way to the Financial Winner’s Circle

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

May 5, 2017 - Saving for retirement can feel like a race against time, with competing priorities constantly pushing your financial progress off track. Through its onUp movement, SunTrust Banks, Inc. wants to help by providing derby-inspired tools and tips to help people gain prime position at each turn of the savings race so they can reach the retirement winner’s circle.

“Planning for a successful retirement is like jockeying for position in a horse race,” said Joe Sicchitano, head of wealth planning at SunTrust. “From getting off to a strong start in your 20s to positioning yourself for a sprint to the finish in your 50s, each stage brings its own challenges and opportunities. Throughout the process it’s important to visualize what life will look like post-retirement. How will you spend your time? What financial resources will you need to live out your dreams? Doing this will help you to stay focused on your financial goals and run a winning retirement race.”

When planning your retirement savings strategy, consider these five pivotal moves:

1.    Burst out of the starting gate in your 20s

Start saving as soon as possible, allocating a percentage of your monthly income to a retirement account -- and be sure to take advantage of employer matches. You’ll find yourself ahead of the pack if you can save consistently from a young age, but don’t give up if you don’t start as strongly as you would have liked. Getting in the race as soon as you can puts you in a better position to win. 

2.    Get ready for the first turn

Track your spending and review your recurring costs, such as insurance, healthcare, housing and cell phones to see where you might be able to tighten your spending. Further, even if you’re working a first job out of college and have just started saving, a qualified financial advisor can help guide you through important financial decisions.

3.    Reassess your position in your 30s

Your second turn in your 30s will come with a new set of financial challenges, such as getting married, having a child, buying a home – or perhaps all three. With these new responsibilities, it’s not enough to put your head down and save; you also need to be aware of threats to your financial well-being. This is a time to consider solutions such as life and disability insurance, developing a will and creating college savings or other accounts for your child’s future.

4.    Accelerate in your 40s to position yourself for victory

The third turn into the 40s is when many people begin to realize that retirement is fast approaching. You may have overcome the financial challenges of the 30s, and are now just starting to save or planning for your children’s education. It’s time to accelerate your savings during this stretch of prime earning years. As you move up the income scale, place higher percentages of your earnings into retirement accounts.

5.    Sprint to the finish line in your 50s

Once you round the final turn and retirement is within sight, it’s important to focus on a strong finish. Take advantage of higher catch-up contribution limits in 401ks and IRAs. The fifties are also an important time to assess your risk profile and ensure your life insurance and estate plan are in order.

Completing the retirement race with the financial resources to experience the next stage comfortably is a significant achievement. Enjoy the winner’s circle, but also reflect on the financial principles that helped get you there. Retirement presents new opportunities for ongoing planning, including managing health care costs, tax planning for required minimum distributions – and more. Follow through on your financial plan and work with a financial advisor to ensure that your victory lap is everything you wanted it to be. 

SunTrust is leading the onUp movement to help people move from financial stress to confidence. At onUp.com, individuals can commit to taking the first steps toward greater financial control, and access tools and resources. SunTrust also shares financial tips on Facebook and Twitter. Visit twitter.com/suntrust and facebook.com/suntrust.

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