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Back to Basics: Retirement Planning

Back to Basics: Retirement Planning

| January 03, 2023
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You may have heard the saying, "it's never too late to learn." Well, that is certainly true when it comes to retirement planning. Even if you are considering retirement, there is still time to make smart decisions to help ensure a comfortable future. 

Let’s discuss the basics of retirement planning and answer some common questions. We'll also provide some helpful tips for getting started. So whether you are just starting out or already in retirement, this post has something for everyone! 

What Is Retirement Planning? 

Retirement planning is the process of creating goals and strategies for your financial future after you stop working. It involves taking stock of all your assets, liabilities, income sources, expenses, and tax considerations to create a plan tailored to your retirement lifestyle. 

Retirement planning can help you prepare for the unexpected by anticipating potential risks or threats that could affect your retirement savings. It also allows you to maximize your retirement income and minimize taxes. 

Definition of Common Retirement Terms 

There are a lot of terms used in retirement planning that may be unfamiliar to some. Here is a brief overview of some common terms: 

  • Tax-deferred savings plans: These accounts allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax basis and pay taxes when the funds are withdrawn. Examples include traditional IRAs and 401(k)s. 
  • Taxable savings plans: These accounts allow you to save for retirement after paying taxes on the money invested. Examples include Roth IRAs and brokerage accounts. 
  • Social Security benefits: Monthly payments made to individuals who have worked and paid into the system. The amount received each month depends on your earnings history. 
  • Pension plans: Employer-sponsored retirement plans that provide monthly payments to retirees. 
  • Annuities: These contracts allow you to invest in a fund and receive periodic payments for a specified period. 

Common Questions About Retirement Planning 

How much should I be saving for retirement? 

The amount to save depends on your unique situation and goals. Generally, you should aim to set aside 10-15% of your income each year for retirement. This assumes you start saving early and use tax-deferred plans, such as traditional IRAs or 401(k)s. 

What investments should I be making for retirement? 

The best investments depend on age, risk tolerance, and goals. A financial advisor can help you create an appropriate portfolio with a mix of stocks, bonds, and other investments. 

How much do I need to live comfortably in retirement? 

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it depends on factors such as your lifestyle, where you live, and healthcare costs. Generally, experts recommend that you should have saved 70%-80% of your pre-retirement income by the time you retire. 

When should I start planning for retirement? 

Ideally, you should start planning for retirement as early as possible. This allows more time to take advantage of tax-deferred plans and invest in growth opportunities. However, it's never too late to start - even if you are close to retirement age! 

Retirement planning is an integral part of financial strategy and doesn't have to be complicated. By taking the time to understand the basics, you can ensure that your retirement is comfortable and secure. A financial professional can walk you through the process of retirement planning and answer any other questions you might have. 

 

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