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The viability of retiring on Social Security checks alone is a vanished concept in the 21st century. See more retirement pictures.

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Retirement just kind of happens. If we live long enough, we'll eventually reach a point where we either leave our careers, opt for another, less intense work life, or finish working for a living altogether. There was a time when companies included pension plans in their compensation packages and employees could look forward to receiving a percentage of their salaries to live on for the rest of their lives. Social Security benefits used to be enough to offset the cost of living, so that a person could retire based on Social Security income alone. In the 21st century, neither of these hold true any longer.

Instead, it's up to the individual to create a comfortable retirement for him or herself. Luckily, those who still look forward to retirement will have the longest post-retirement life spans, thanks to continued advances in health care. In other words, it's a good idea to do as much as possible to ensure that you will have a secure and enjoyable retirement.

Learning precisely how to do that can be daunting. Speaking with a certified financial planner can certainly help, but there are steps you can also take to help create a bright future after your working life ends.

Retirement Planning and Taxes

Whether you're planning for retirement or have already retired, these articles will prepare you for some of the financial decisions facing you in your golden years.

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