How do I Start Planning for Retirement?

Brian Hickox |
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If you’ve just begun your career and started collecting a decent paycheck, retirement probably feels like it’s lightyears away. But it will get here quicker than you expect, and when it does, you’ll want to be prepared.

And if you’re in your 40s or 50s and haven’t started saving for retirement yet, it’s not too late. The most important thing is to start planning as soon as possible.

Create a Budget

Take a look at your spending habits, including what you spend on necessities like rent or mortgage, food, and transportation. This will give you a rough idea of what you’ll need every month when you’re retired. Keep in mind that inflation and your cost of living will likely change once you hit retirement age.

Determine Your Income Streams

Make a note of the income sources you expect to receive when you retire. This can be anything from the 401(k) you’re contributing to at work (which if you’re not currently contributing, start now), to social security payments, stocks, bonds, or other investments. By combining your estimated income with your average expenses, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll need to save prior to retiring.

Pay Your Debts

Interest can quickly eat away at your retirement savings. If you have significant debts, try to pay them off before you retire. You’ll increase the available funds you have every month.

Don’t Forget Healthcare

Medicare doesn’t cover all healthcare-related expenses, so factor in the cost of a supplemental plan when creating your retirement budget. Like your cost of living, your medical expenses will likely change as you get older. You may also want to consider purchasing long-term care insurance, which can help offset the cost of a nursing home or assisted living should you need it.

Review Regularly

Checking in on your accounts regularly is important. It lets you review the markets and analyze your portfolio to see if there are opportunities to potentially increase returns or minimize losses. But you’ll never know where you stand if you don’t keep on top of your accounts. If you’re not sure where your portfolio stands, a financial professional can help you review your accounts and give you personalized recommendations based on your retirement needs and goals.

Location Matters

As you get closer to retirement, think about where you want to live. Downsizing your home can help reduce living expenses, but location plays a large role in housing costs too. Some states are more retiree-friendly than others, and you may want to consider relocating to somewhere where your money will go further.

When you’re ready to retire, having a plan in place will help ease the transition to life after work.


All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us of a specific investment or the purchase or sale of any securities. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. This material was developed and produced by Advisor Websites to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Copyright 2022 Advisor Websites.