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When planning for retirement it’s hard to know where or when to begin. Truth is, there’s no one size fits all approach. While everyone’s road to retirement will require a different journey, getting an early start on smart financial planning can ensure that post-retirement is a time to pursue passions to continue living a fulfilling life. Here are a few tips to consider when mapping out your individualized path:
Save the Date
The first step on the road to retirement is to determine a realistic retirement date. There are several factors that should be considered when trying to set a date. Questions to ask yourself include:
When do I qualify for retirement with my employer?
What are my personal and family’s healthcare needs?
What are my personal and family’s insurance needs?
How much are my ongoing living expenses? Will those change over time?
What investments do I have? What returns will my investments yield by the time I would like to retire?
Consult an Expert
After getting personal affairs in order, the next step is finding an expert that can help develop individualized financial recommendations for a comfortable life after retirement. Experts range from traditional financial advisors to financial planners that specialize in retirement.
Working with an expert has several benefits. Experts can help identify areas of consideration that may have been overlooked during initial planning. They can also provide insight on specific financial situations like saving to send children off to college or the financial impact of caregiving. Furthermore, having a retirement expert on hand can make adjusting your plan easier when financial status unexpectedly changes.
When searching for a financial advisor, be diligent about researching their credentials to ensure they are professional and experienced. Use the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) free database service, to verify registered experts. Additionally, read consumer reviews or request references to learn about the experiences of their other clients.
Live on A Budget for Now… and Then
After setting a realistic retirement date and consulting an expert, plan to live on a reasonable budget to stay on course with financial goals. Consider what sacrifices can be made now to make life after retirement more enjoyable. For instance, extra money from reduced living expenses can be used to pay off long term debt faster.
In many cases, life after retirement requires living on a somewhat fixed income. Learning to live on a strict budget now can help you ease into transition when the time comes.