Your retirement years may be right around the corner or they may be decades in the future. Either way, if you haven’t planned for your retirement, it’s time to get started.
Retirement Planning: Social Security
You shouldn’t expect your monthly Social Security check to fund all your expenses in retirement. Keep tabs on what you will earn from Social Security payments and try to save enough extra to maintain your lifestyle after you stop working full-time. The Social Security Administration has free planning calculators available on its website that will tell you exactly how much you can expect to receive each month depending on your date of retirement.
Retirement Planning: Planning and Saving
Make sure you know how much money you need to live the retirement life you desire. Save for the future by contributing to an Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), 401k plan or other retirement savings plan. Your employer may may match a portion of your contribution to your 401k plan. If you have that benefit, make sure to take full advantage.
Retirement Planning: Beyond the money
Retirement planning isn’t just about saving money. It also requires making plans for how you’ll spend your time when you stop working. Maybe you want to learn a new skill or travel to exciting places. Maybe you aren’t planning for full retirement but want to pick up a part-time job or try a new career or business opportunity. Maybe you want to volunteer and share your life experience to help others. When you retire, you need to think about what’s next.
Retirement Planning: Your health
Make sure you stay on top of your health, which also includes your attitude, activity level and eating habits. If you want to make changes to your lifestyle, it isn’t too late. You could take that extra retirement time to try an exercise class, take a cooking class or meet friends for a walk. If you have troubles adjusting to retirement, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Retirement Planning: Consult with the experts
In the midst of your retirement planning, it is wise to talk with a financial planner to discuss your future needs and make sure your plan is on track. You can also talk to the human resources department of your current employer to make sure you are taking full advantage of a 401k or other retirement plans available to you. Your bank or credit union may provide retirement planning seminars.
As you create your retirement plan, don’t forget to include your significant other in the process. Even if retirement is years away, it’s never too early to start to plan and dream.