Planning for retirement is not an easy task. You have to meet a number of challenges before you can set up a comfortable retirement. People who plan for their retirement for many years before it happens, generally do the best, and the reason why is obvious. The more years that you systematically plan for and save for your retirement, the more money you’ll have when you need it most.
The trouble with retirement planning is simple: when your retirement is very far off, you don’t tend to give much thought to the subject. When your retirement date nears, you give the subject a ton of thought, but you have a lot less money and time to prepare yourself. For many people, the subject can be unpleasant, and no matter how important it is, they will tend to “blow it off” in favor of more enjoyable past-times. This is quite understandable, but not always in your best interests.
The more time you have to plan for retirement, the smaller your systematic savings amounts need to be. The shorter the time period, the higher. As you trend towards retirement, it’s an excellent idea to remove expensive payments (perhaps a boat or an RV) and put that money into your retirement account. If you’re 55 or over, you will have to make hay while the proverbial sun is shining, and place a greater percentage amount into savings than ever before.
Chances are, your expenses will be lower when you’re retired than before, so you will probably be able to make do with less total dollars. If you’re fortunate, you’ll have decent incomes in the form of your employer’s retirement plan and social security. If less fortunate, you’ll have to make do on what you’ve managed to save. When you’re retired, you are forced to be much more conservative with your investments, so this can limit the types of returns you get. You will likely be forced to settle for lower returns if you want guaranteed results, which is almost always the case for a retiree.
One advantage of being retired is you can often downsize your home and car, to make up for any loss in income. Chances are you’ll be able to take a great deal of cash from the sale of your home, and this money can also be used to invest for retirement. You can also still earn an income as a retiree, although very strict rules apply. You can also consider starting a small business if you find the lack of employment boring, or just if you want more challenges. Life begins at retirement for most people, so carefully planning for this fateful event many years in advance of the event is bound to serve you well.