Thinking about Retiring? 5 Steps to Get Started

So you’re thinking about retiring.

That’s a big decision. There is a good chance you’ll be retired for as long as you worked. Think about that – 20 to 30 years – that’s a long time to be without a paycheck. So I want to offer pointers for those considering retirement and what you can do today to increase the likelihood of an enjoyable retirement.

Planning for retirement is something you do while working and receiving a paycheck. Figuring out how to live when the paychecks stop is not easy. Visualizing life 30 years from now is equally difficult. But the longer you wait to start planning, the harder it will be to get ready for retirement. The goal is to plan an enjoyable retirement, but wait too long and it may vanish.

Here are five steps you can take today to start planning for an enjoyable retirement.

1. Start Early

If possible, begin thinking about your retirement ten years before you receive your last paycheck. It takes time to get everything in order, eliminate debt, build up your savings, and plan out the next steps. These are things that can’t be accomplished overnight; they take time. It’s like a game of musical chairs. While you’re working the music is playing. When the music stops, so do the paychecks, and you’re stuck with what you have. Use your time wisely.

2. Have a Plan

The first step to having a plan for the future is understanding where you’re at today. It’s important to understand your spending/saving habits, sources of income and areas of investments. Together these individual pieces combine to create (or harm) your retirement. Really figure out how much you spend each month, don’t guess. Itemize your sources of income. Use the data from those two exercises to understand your “gap” and what you’ll need to have in the form of savings to compensate.

3. Expect the Unexpected

You will have unexpected expenses and dips in income, so don’t be surprised by them. These “surprises” can take several different shapes from healthcare costs to roof repair and even good old fashioned over-spending. Instead, create a plan that anticipates the unexpected to prevent surprises from derailing your financial future.

4. Discover your Passion

It’s simple – do what you love. Go out and find that one thing that really excites you. Remember, retirement isn’t an ending. So enjoy the journey both today and tomorrow.

5. Don’t do it Alone

There’s a lot at stake when it comes to planning an enjoyable retirement. The best way to ease the fear of the unknown is to ask for help. So find a trustworthy financial advisor and let him or her help. Their expertise is helping people with transitions. The earlier your relationship begins, the more helpful the advisor is likely to be.

So if whether you’re in your mid 30s, 40s, 50s or even 60s, keep these things in mind as you start to consider retirement. If you need someone to help, we’re here for you. Just give us a call to start the conversation today.

Craig Arfsten

As a Prosperion Advisor, Craig has the independence, support and resources to help clients with what he does best – listening to their stories, discovering their desires, and identifying their greatest financial risks, before developing a comprehensive approach to meeting those needs. Learn more about Craig here.

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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC.