Retirement planning is a complex and tedious process that can easily leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. In fact, lack of proper understanding is the number one reason why people don't formulate and stick to a retirement strategy. It seems easier at the time to put your head in the sand than create retirement plans, but you will pay if you take that route down the road.
Planning for retirement is essential if you want to live comfortably during your golden years and actually enjoy time with your grandchildren unburdened by work and financial responsibilities. While that may seem like a pipe dream, it is possible if you execute a strong retirement strategy while you are young.
Most retirement plans have five stages to them and are best executed with the help of a professional retirement advisor who knows the ins and outs of Roth IRAs, 401ks, IRAs, and 457bs so that you don't have to. While those numbers can play a large role in your financial security, they need to be properly utilized by a great retirement strategy created by a financial advisor who is market savvy.
In the meantime, however, great retirement planning starts by understanding the basics of a great retirement strategy. Here are the five steps that should naturally be integrated into your plan as you start to create financial goals and objectives that will allow you to reach retirement age fully prepared.
The very first thing you need to think about is when you plan to retire. Retirement plans are based around an estimated need for funds, and your needs will be different if you take early retirement at 62 versus retiring at age 70. While no one can estimate their health and/or financial needs exactly, having a ballpark idea of when you will retire can help you build an effective retirement strategy.
This is possibly the easiest part of retirement planning. If you haven't started saving but you have started working, then the answer is now. While it is never too late to start planning for retirement, the ideal time to start is in your 20s. From the time you get your first real job until the day you retire, you should be focused on building a strong retirement portfolio.
A large part of your investment portfolio comes from investing, so it stands to reason the earlier you start building a retirement strategy, the longer you will have for your money to grow. That said, if you are older than 20 and just beginning to plan your retirement, that is okay. It is never too late to start crafting a retirement strategy because every dollar you save is one more that you will have plus interest later.
Now that you know when you can start saving and how long you will have to save, you need to figure out how much you need to retire. This figure comes from combining your current income and expenses and weighing it against your estimated needs when you retire. As part of your retirement strategy, you should seek to reduce bills by the time you reach retirement age, such as your home mortgage (hopefully paid) and educational needs (all your kids should be through college).
In general, we advise our clients to budget about 70% to 90% of their pre-retirement income for retirement per year. Of course, as you age and your income grows, this can change, but that is why working with a professional can help you build a flexible strategy that grows with you.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don't be. While a retirement strategy can feel intimidating, building a healthy retirement portfolio with the help of a financial advisor is possible. Instead of relying on just a 401K or a Roth IRA to get you to a comfortable retirement, meet with one of our professional financial advisors to start building a strong retirement strategy that will allow you to truly enjoy your golden years.