When will I be able to retire?
How much money do I need to retire?
Will we be able to enjoy the lifestyle we desire?
In broad terms, retirement planning refers to many different processes and strategies that help you achieve financial independence in retirement. The underlying concept is basic—save early and often. However, the mechanics of retirement planning can make it difficult. Additionally, this generation of retirees faces challenges that other generations haven’t had to face, such as longer life expectancies, rising inflation, taxes, and wild market volatility. Throw in advanced concerns like employer-sponsored retirement plans and Social Security maximization, and you can see how a properly structured retirement portfolio is the result of much consideration and expert care.
Retirement planning begins with assessing your readiness to retire. What is your ideal retirement lifestyle? How much will you need? How long will you live in retirement? What age do you desire to retire? What assets do you have available to achieve your goals? These are all questions addressed in the retirement analysis and planning process.
While every consumer requires a specific and unique retirement plan to address their individual needs, some common things explored in retirement planning include:
- Taking advantage of employer-sponsored retirement accounts, like 401(k)s
- Social Security Maximization Strategies
- Accumulation vehicles like deferred annuities or cash-value life insurance
- Tax-advantaged assets and tax-efficient distribution strategies
- Physical assets like real estate
- Anticipating costly medical set-backs
- Retirement lifestyle goals and their cost
You may ask yourself, when is the best time to plan for retirement? The answer is simply now. The earlier you can allocate and position assets for retirement, the more prepared you will be for challenges that may occur. Retirement planning is a living process, subject to the changes you go through before, during, and after retirement. It’s important to realize that retirement planning doesn’t stop once you retire because needs, priorities, and opportunities can change during retirement.