How On Earth Do I Plan For Retirement?
Updated: Apr 27
It’s easy to put off thinking about retirement when you’re young and life is good, but like most things, the sooner you start the better off you will be. There are many different aspects of retirement, because of emotions and lifestyle choices, no two plans will be the same. Every individual will have different needs and wants for their retirement years. You will need to determine your retirement goals, and then structure your plan around those using different financial strategies for saving, investing, and (once you retire) distributing your money.
You will need to identify sources of future income and start transferring money to those accounts. One of the easiest ways to kick start your retirement plan is to participate in any employer sponsored retirement programs like a 401k.
The timeline for retirement planning starts as early as your first job or your first saved or invested dollar. Young adults at the beginning of their careers typically don’t have as much money to invest, but with time on their side, they only need to invest a small amount to amass a large amount of money. When compared to someone even ten years older, that person would need to invest nearly three times the amount. This is where compounding shines.
By your mid thirties you may have more money coming in, but there's usually more money going out as well as families and responsibilities grow. This is a pivotal time to be a little more aggressive in putting money into your retirement accounts. Again, the interest and growth on these assets will begin to provide more security once you retire.
By your fifties you should be trying to max out your contributions to your 401k or IRA. Towards the end of your career you will want to focus on being more conservative with your investments. You should also assess what your Social Security benefits will be, and begin learning about those benefits, including how and when to access them.
Retirement planning is an ongoing effort. As life changes, flexibility is key, pivoting when needed. Remember that these retirement years are the “golden years.” Plan accordingly so you can enjoy them.
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“There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way.”
-Christopher Morely pg.129 The Maxims of Wall Street by Mark Skousen