collage of blue-tinted Social Security cards (Photo: Shutterstock)

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With the economy in a state of such volatility, it's hard topredict how or when Social Security benefits may change. Accordingto the Social Security Administration, "Social Security benefitsare now expected to be payable in full on a timely basis until2037, when the trust fund reserves are projected to becomeexhausted."  Regardless of the evolution of this benefit,employees need to prepare to support themselves through retirement.

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Relying on money that may not exist is a riskno American can afford to take. This is especially important foremployees who anticipate being in the workforce beyond thenext 10 years. They should be prepared to save more thanprevious generations if they don't want to jeopardize their abilityto retire and live the lifestyle they desire.

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As an employer, you are in a position to educate your employeeson the value of retirement planning as well as to provide theresources that enable them to save.

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This could mean providing new employees with information oncreating retirement accounts, encouraging employees to contributeenough to receive the maximum employer match, or helping seasonedemployees realize their estimated retirement fund based on theircurrent contribution.

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Often, the biggest challenge for employees is determiningexactly what their ideal retirement plan looks like. Personalfinances are just that – personal. Each of your employees will havea different vision of their life when they retire, but there aresteps all employees can take to help build a solid retirementstrategy. Here are four steps you can share with your employees tohelp them plan for retirement:

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1. Determine your desired retirement age. Thisis the first step to create an effective retirement plan.

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Once you know when you'd like to retire, you can work backwardsto determine how much you'll need to save between now and yourexpected retirement age to support yourself. Based on the years youhave left in the workforce, you can adjust your contributionaccordingly to reach your goal.

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2. Gauge your level of risk tolerance. Thelonger the timeline is between your current age and retirement age,you may opt for riskier investments in your portfolio since yourinvestments will have time to withstand potential volatility of themarket.

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If risky investments make you uneasy, build a portfolio that youfeel comfortable with. You don't want your retirement portfolio tocause additional financial stress, but you should take an activerole in the management of your investments to ensure your portfolioallocations will enable you to meet your retirement goals (orenlist a professional advisor that can help).

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3. Be realistic about anticipated retirementspending. The worst thing you can do is to underestimatehow much money you'll need in retirement. Once you retire and yourincome is gone, it will be too late to add to your fund.

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Plan appropriately now and adjust your contributions to supportyour anticipated spending habits. Consider unpaid debts, cost ofliving increases and unforeseen health issues. Online budgetcalculators can help you determine how much you'll need to savebased on anticipated expenses.

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Now is the time to plan for the unexpected as if you expect itto happen; worst case, you'll have additional travel funds to checkthings off your bucket list.

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4. Cut back now, worry less later. Does it seemlike you never have enough money to put away? Living expenses.Unexpected expenses. Little incidentals that add up. Online moneymanagement tools are a great way to help you create and manage abudget. They'll also help you track your expenses and identifyspending trends.

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A few small adjustments can add up to a nice monthly lump sumyou'll be able to invest in your retirement account without makinghuge sacrifices.  When you get that raise, invest itbefore it ever hits your paycheck. You won't miss it if you neverhave the chance to spend it. If you want professional guidance,reach out to a financial coach or advisor to help you organize yourfinances and find ways to save more. You'll appreciate it in thelong run.

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Whether a solution is found and Social Security lasts fordecades, or younger generations experience the end of SocialSecurity as we know it, employers must put an emphasis on theimportance of employees saving more for retirement than previousgenerations.

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Many elements of the future are unpredictable, but retirementplanning is one thing that is within our control. By preparingearly and establishing a solid retirement strategy, your employeeswill experience less financial stress with the peace of mind thattheir future livelihood is under control.

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David Kilby is president of FinFit, a nationalfinancial wellness brand based in Virginia Beach,Virginia.

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