County ranks 4th in best places to plan retirement

By Herald-Standard

Whether you’re young or old, some time in the future you’ll come face to face with the hard reality of retirement. But will you be ready financially?

According to a study by SmartAsset, a financial technology company based in New York, Greene County is in good shape compared to other counties across the state when it comes to people in position to start planning for retirement.

Taking into account a paycheck friendliness score, a 401(k) plan performance score, a public pension plan performance score and a score for the number of financial advisers per capita, SmartAsset ranked Greene County number four across the state for the best counties to start planning for retirement, behind only Chester, Montgomery and Bucks, in that order.

“The paycheck metric takes into account what people are getting paid and how far their paycheck will stretch in the area in which they live,” said Ross Urken, senior editor at SmartAsset.

To determine which counties have the best 401(k) plans, SmartAsset’s study measures the amount the employers in a county contribute to employees’ 401(k) plans compared to total contributions as well as how well the investments perform and how much the plans are charged for administrative fees. Each factor is then used in equal weighting to determine an overall 401(k) score.

“Greene County did well in these first two study indexes, while the other two measurements had less of an impact on the final ranking,” Urken said.

According to Urken, every individual’s retirement is different, and retirement is a long-term goal. He advises everyone to start planning for retirement as early as possible.

“The good news for Greene County residents is that they’re in a better position to plan for retirement than those living in other counties in the state,” he said. “It’s important to use your paycheck wisely and invest a portion of it for retirement.”

Www.SmartAsset.com has tools for helping people plan for retirement which are available on its website and are free of charge. These tools include the tax implications for retiring in a particular area.

“These tools have a local emphasis and are based on a local scenario that doesn’t make broad assumptions like some others might,” Urken said.

To find a financial adviser in the area, he advocates going to the financial adviser matching tool on the website The adviser can tailor his or her information based on a individual’s situation and goals.

“If they have children, while they save for retirement they may also want to save for their children’s education through a 529 plan, a college savings vehicle,” Urken said.

Fees for an adviser may vary. Some charge a percentage of the financial assets invested; others charge a flat fee. Nevertheless, those in all social-economic brackets can benefit from working with a financial adviser, including those with limited assets.

People can also get information on retirement from the benefits department at their place of employment, typically from a representative from human resources department.

Investment options include your company’s 401(k), an IRA and a mix of mutual funds and exchange traded funds (stocks and bonds) for a diverse portfolio of securities that minimize risk and optimize returns.

“Factors that affect an individual’s retirement plan include whether or not they’re a homeowner, whether they have debt, the age they start planning and the year they’d like to retire,” Urken said. “Every retirement is different. Even so, people need to be able to use local information and tools to see what retirement plan works best for them to insure they have the necessary funds to sustain themselves in their later years.”

This article provided by NewsEdge.