Planning for your retirement shouldn't be difficult. Social security isn't going to cover even the basic necessities after you retire. Adequate funds will be needed. In order to ensure that your retirement funds are enough there are a few things you'll need to find out and decide. What are some of your options?
Before you can plan for your retirement you need to know the exact amount you will need to live on to sustain you cost of living. You also need to take into consideration inflation and rising medical care. If you are married then both of you will need to discuss your finances together and also make plans in the event of either one of your deaths.
How long do you plan to work? If you continue to work even on a part-time basis you can decrease the total amount you need to retire. Every little bit that you can bring in will help serve this purpose. If you can have some of your basic bills covered it will stretch your retirement income from your annuity, IRA, pension or 401k (or similar) program.
If you are over the age of 50 and don't think you have enough money by the time you've reached age 65, 67, or 70 the IRA tax laws indicate you can make catch up payments to increase it. The current catch up payment rules indicate an additional $1000 can be paid above and beyond the standard IRA funding limits. The regular funding limits are $5000 for 2008 and will increase in $500 increments for each year after.
Another thing you can do is to delay your retirement age. These extra years that you work will increase your IRA, and employer or self-employed retirement funds. It is better to be safe than sorry. This will be the time of your highest earning potential. You'll want to take advantage while you can.
There are two different types of IRA's. One is a Roth IRA and the other is a standard IRA. Each one has pros and cons. If you want to decrease your tax rate you might want a standard IRA. If you are more concerned about having a tax free income after retirement then a Roth IRA is more appropriate. If you have a standard IRA you can always change it. But make sure that you consult with a tax professional for the latest rules and procedures.