It is never too early—or too late (although earlier is better!)
- 30 min30 minutes
- Conference Call
Understanding Retirement Planning In the simplest sense, retirement planning is the planning one does to be prepared for life after paid work ends, not just financially but in all aspects of life. The non-financial aspects include lifestyle choices such as how to spend time in retirement, where to live, when to completely quit working, etc. A holistic approach to retirement planning considers all these areas. The emphasis one puts on retirement planning changes throughout different life stages. Early in a person's working life, retirement planning is about setting aside enough money for retirement. During the middle of your career, it might also include setting specific income or asset targets and taking the steps to achieve them. Once you reach retirement age, you go from accumulating assets to what planners call the distribution phase. You’re no longer paying in; instead, your decades of saving are paying out. Retirement Planning Goals Remember that retirement planning starts long before you retire—the sooner, the better. Your “magic number,” the amount you need to retire comfortably, is highly personalized, but there are numerous rules of thumb that can give you an idea of how much to save. People used to say that you need around $1 million to retire comfortably. Other professionals use the 80% rule (i.e., you need enough to live on 80% of your income at retirement). If you made $100,000 per year, you would need savings that could produce $80,000 per year for roughly 20 years, or $1.6 million. Others say most retirees aren't saving anywhere near enough to meet those benchmarks and should adjust their lifestyle to live on what they have. Whatever method you, and possibly a financial planner, use to calculate your retirement savings needs, start as early as you can.