Financial Literacy
For Your Future



When Should I Begin Establishing And Funding A Retirement Program?

Who Do You Think You Are or Want to Be? One of the best topics to help people think about the long term is retirement planning. The further away you are from retirement, the more difficult it is to think about who you want to be, where you want to be, what lifestyle you want to live, and how you will pay for your Golden Years. The difficulty grows when you realize that many things about retirement are constantly changing and, it seems, changing faster every day. But, like so many things, difficulty doesn’t mean it is unimportant or should be postponed. Bite the bullet and, at the very least, begin the process of thinking seriously about your retirement future. Hopefully, somewhere in the thought process you will reach an AhHa moment and realize that you have reached a tentative answer to this application question. You may have followed the decision making guide related to the many related topics and questions without even realizing it. Let’s begin.

Think back to the many times in your life that you thought about what you would be doing when you became old.  Maybe a fireman, teacher, pilot, computer geek, artist, carpenter, etc. represented your career goal. Probably, your career choice indirectly related to lifestyle desires as well. The point is, you have pictured your future before and have given many of the important parts of retirement planning some  preliminary thought. Now you need to do the same procedure in more detail with more information and structure. Fast forward your life to the age of 66 as you think about the following topics and questions:

  • Have you lived a healthy lifestyle and have few health related limitations?
  • Where are you living (city, state, region, country) and are you happy there?
  • Do you like or want to travel?
  • Do you have close companions and friends that add value to your life?
  • Do you like to own things and/or do things?
  • What is your home like? Do you wish to change your home now that you are 66 plus years old?
  • What are the ten most important things you want to do before you die (items on your bucket list)?

Take time to reflect on the answers to these questions and begin to create a mental picture of you and your life at 66 plus. Dreaming is important and fun and that is what you have begun to do in regards to your retirement planning.

Now that you started developing the picture of your life in your golden years, you now need to begin to cost it out and start to decide how you are going to pay for the plan or make the picture real. This is an important part of retirement planning that needs to be done as early as possible as time is your friend when you save and invest.  Even in the “new economy” post 9-11, a small amount saved and invested beginning in your early years can really mount up to big money after you retire.

In regards to cost or the amount of money you will need to live the golden years as you have planned, an acceptable rule of thumb developed by retirement counselors and planners is that you will need approximately 80% of your last years working income after you retire to pay your bills. Of course your retirement life’s plan will influence this percentage depending how extravagant your plan is. You are probably getting a bit frustrated by now as you begin to think about all of the things you don’t know in regards to life 40-50 years down the road. A budget plan comes to mind, but how do you create that when prices, and income levels, etc. are such unknowns. Fortunately, resources do exist that can help you get started as you begin to determine how much money you will need. Local retirement planners, bankers, and existing retirees can be very helpful.

You are ready to make some choices in regards to structuring a retirement financial plan that will provide you with all the money you will need to live the good life after you retire. Once again, you don’t have to do this process alone. Although you will eventually have to make the final choices on how your portfolio will look, use the experts to help you outline your options and the ups and downs of each. The websites listed in the Application Insights section will connect you with people and procedures that can. Help. Be aware that many of these resources have products that they may want to sell you as this is one of the ways they earn a living. Let’s look at where some of your retirement income may come from:

  • Social Security
  • Employment Pensions
  • Annuities
  • Mutual Funds
  • Savings Accounts
  • Certificates of Deposit
  • Rental Properties
  • Contract for Deeds
  • Sale of Tangible Assets
  • Inheritance
  • 401k

Every person will not have access to all of these money providers, but everyone can select to participate in some and the earlier you decide the better. Learn as much as you can about these opportunities from your resource “experts”…remember they are happy to talk with you and then, as always use your decision making guide to choose what you want to do now and how much you want to put away from today's income so you will have financial freedom later.

Applications Insights Guide - click here for facts to aid your decision making process



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