How to Plan for Retirement Success
Most people hope for a financially secure retirement, but in reality, many do not have a solid plan for how to get there. Reaching the goal of retiring with financial security may seem daunting, but it’s certainly possible with proper planning.
While your financial advisor can guide you through the details, it’s important to embrace three critical concepts: First, investments grow over time, so funding your retirement early is key. Second, a general direction is no replacement for a detailed plan. And third, life changes and your plan needs to be regularly reviewed to stay on target. Here’s a closer look at what each entails.
Fund Retirement Plans Early
One of the most important steps you can take in building a successful retirement plan is maximizing early contributions to your retirement accounts. It is especially important to contribute to an employer sponsored retirement plan when that plan has a matching component. Therefore, if your employer sponsored plan has a matching component, make sure you’re contributing to your 401k, and maximizing any contributions that your employer might match.
In addition to your employer-sponsored plan, there are a variety of additional investments and income sources that can also be important to creating a financially secure retirement. These include things such as IRAs, Roth IRAs, and non-qualified assets such as brokerage accounts and real estate, and Social Security.
Additionally, the earlier you can start funding your retirement, the better. That’s because early contributions have so much more time to grow and benefit from the power of compounding interest. However, if you’ve worked for several years and haven’t started funding your retirement, it’s not too late. But starting earlier will save you from having to play catch up in your later working years.
Build a Financial Plan
In reaching any destination, it is helpful to have a roadmap. Planning for retirement is no different. To reach a financially secure retirement, it is important to build a financial plan that can serve as your roadmap to the point in the future that you are looking to attain.
This plan should include your income sources, both your current and anticipated spending, and major life goals along the way. It serves as a long-term look at your finances that details where you are now, as well as a plan for getting to where you want to be.
When you meet with your advisor to create your financial plan, it is important to bring a summary of your expenses, assets, investment statements, income sources, and a list of major expenses or life goals you may expect in the future, such as weddings, college education or vacation homes.
Not having a financial plan means you’re making financial decisions based on a gut feel rather than a roadmap. Building a plan helps to provide you with a realistic projection that can guide you and get you into a mindset that is focused on your future. At the same time, the plan can help you to outline the necessary steps and action items to prepare for retirement appropriately.
Review Your Plan Periodically
Once you have built a base plan, it’s important that you periodically revisit your plan, to ensure that it is still inline with expectations. This is especially important, should you have a major life change, such as a change in marital status, moving homes, having children, empty nesting, change of job, retirement, illness, disability, or an unexpected financial gain or loss.
Once you have had a chance to build your plan for the future, it is then important to ensure that your assets are constructed in a way that will help to support the plan you have created. An integral part of any good retirement plan is meeting with your advisor to ensure that your assets are positioned in a way that will support your plan and lead you to your life goals. This also allows you to periodically stress test your plan to see if you’re on schedule.
If you meet with your advisor and determine that you’re not quite on track with your plan, you don’t have to panic. Even with the best roadmap, sometimes detours are necessary. When this happens, we simply make adjustments to get us back on track with the plan and keep moving forward.
Working Together Toward a Well-Earned Retirement
Developing a clear game plan and sticking to it is the best path to financially securing your retirement. At Davie Kaplan, we specialize in working with individuals and families to build the plans and portfolios that will help them reach their personal retirement goals.