A Quick Guide to Retirement
- Your 20’s: Planning Pays off Richly – You’re poorer than you’ll ever be again. If you’re in your 20’s and broke, you are in good company. There is good news! You can begin laying the groundwork for a prosperous future. Getting your act together now means you are putting time on your side. Live as cheaply as you can, avoid the usual financial traps like: spending too much on cars, wardrobe, or eating out. Shovel money into your retirement plan; aim to put aside 12-15% of your gross pay. Consider this: Someone who puts $4,000 a year into retirement accounts starting at 22 can have $1 million by age 62, assuming 8% average annual returns. Wait 10 years to start contributing, and you’d have to put in more than twice as much — $8,800 a year — to reach the same goal.
- Your 30’s: Don’t be Derailed by Debt – Nine out of 10 people in their 30s are in debt, the highest proportion of any decade. Budget, budget, budget! Did I mention you should have a budget? Control your expenses by knowing where you are spending your money, and aggressively pay off debt.
- Your 40’s: Make it or Break it – Pay off your debt (excluding the house) and make retirement savings your top goal. Every $1 you fail to set aside now could mean $10 less in retirement income. Meet with an advisor to determine the amount of money you need to save before you retire, then make it happen. Every financial decision from here on out is a big one.
- Your 50’s: Heads-up – People in their 50s are usually in their peak earning years, and more than half no longer have kids at home. Now is not the time for looking in the rear-view mirror by saying, “I should’ve started saving when I was in my 20’s.” Retirement saving is Priority #1. Review your retirement accounts annually, rebalance to make sure you are taking the appropriate amount of risk.
- Your 60’s: Last Chance to Get Ready – Zero in on a retirement date. To know if you can comfortably retire, you’ll need to have a target retirement date, because how much money you’ll need and how much you’ll get (from Social Security and other options) depends on this. But you need to stay flexible, in case the day you’d like to quit working turns out to be too early. Working even a year or two extra can boost your nest egg and increase your retirement income enormously, but there is also no point in hanging around longer than you have to. Review Social Security options. Review your estate plans. Meet with a fee-only planner. The decisions you’re about to make are too important to your future not to get a second opinion. Look for an objective planner who’s experienced with retirement-income calculations.
As always, we are here to help. If you need help planning for your retirement – no matter what age group you are in – do not hesitate to contact us. I would welcome the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss your specific situation.