One thing workers can do now to improve odds of retiring early

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Higher contributions, market returns pump up U.S. pension plans in 2017
Corporate pension plans saw an increase in assets and reduced deficits in 2017 as a result of higher contributions by companies and robust market performance, according to this article from The Wall Street Journal. A report from Willis Towers Watson shows that the funded ratio for defined benefit pension plans at Fortune 1000 firms rose to 83% at the end of 2017 from 81% posted at the same time of 2016. Company contributions jumped to $51 billion last year from $43 billion in 2016, with deficits of these pension plans dropping to $293 billion in 2017 from $317 billion recorded the previous year.

The unexpected resiliency of retirement assets
A study by the BlackRock Retirement Institute and the Employee Benefit Research Institute has found that most present-day retirees have preserved 80% of their savings even after nearly 20 years since they retired, according to this article on Nasdaq. More than a third of these retirees even saw an increase in their retirement assets, the study found. While current retirees manage to keep their finances afloat, the case might be different for future retirees because of factors that include increased longevity, decline in pension and financial woes facing Social Security.

One thing clients can do now to improve odds of retiring soon
To improve their chance of retiring early, seniors should do a quick assessment of their retirement prospects even while still working, writes an expert for Money. Those who have already retired should strive to find ways to enjoy their savings and have a rewarding retirement, writes the expert. "To the extent you can resolve to examine your retirement spending over the coming year and look for tweaks that can give you a bigger happiness bang for your buck, the better your chances of having a satisfying and enjoyable retirement."

5 steps to play retirement catch-up
Clients are advised to catch up on retirement if they are not confident about their prospects, according to this article from Forbes. This means that they should make their financial plan up-to-date, make the most of the tax breaks offered by their retirement accounts and put retirement saving ahead of their children's needs. They should also pay off their debt as early as possible and free more funds for a savings plan. Doing a dry-run of retirement is also recommended so they can make changes to their financial plan and better prepare for the golden years.

This rollover mistake can sink your retirement savings
An expert warns clients to opt for a direct trustee-to-trustee or a bank-to-bank transfer when rolling over an IRA, according to this article on CNBC. "Be very careful to avoid this fatal trap of getting caught in the once-per-year IRA rollover rule," says the expert. "If you do a second rollover, it's taxable. It cannot be fixed."

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Retirement income Retirement readiness Pension funds Pensions Investment returns BlackRock EBRI