When Should I Start Planning for Retirement?

Conventional wisdom suggests that retirement planning should begin as soon as you get your first “real” job after earning your degree. This approach would suggest beginning in your twenties. 

However, at this early time, most people are just starting a life of work, family, and other responsibilities. Retirement is often not a top concern outside of setting aside funds in an employer-sponsored 401(k).

Most people find that the bulk of their retirement planning begins in their late 40s to early 50s. By this time, children are heading off to college, and more funds become available to use towards investments and other financial instruments. This is a key time where earnings are still high, and there is a big opportunity to build a nest egg for the future. 

Deep-Dive Retirement Planning

At this point in their lives, most people take a hard look at their savings and wonder if they will have enough to live on when they decide to retire. Having a well-thought-out retirement strategy can go a long way towards ensuring a solid financial future that’s unencumbered by work.

A retirement specialist can assist you with developing a solid game plan for your golden years. They can work to answer your questions about retirement and ensure that you account for unexpected economic and life events. A well-thought-out retirement strategy answers top questions, such as:

  • Can I retire when I want, or do I need to work for a few more years?
  • What do I need to do to ensure that I can retire when I want to?
  • How much can I safely spend in retirement?
  • When should I start taking Social Security benefits, and how do I maximize them?
  • How do I generate retirement income while minimizing taxes?
  • What should I do to protect against a health or long-term care event?
  • How do I make sure my family is well-taken care of if I am not here?
  • What are my Medicare options, and what should I do about healthcare costs?
  • How do I invest my money during retirement without experiencing significant dips?

Clearly, there are a lot of questions to address when you’re planning a safe and effective retirement strategy. Ideally, you should discuss your personal financial situation with someone knowledgeable in retirement planning. 

A retirement specialist can review your personal circumstances and advise the best way for you to invest your money to meet your future financial goals.

Effective Retirement Planning in Your 50s

Oftentimes, your early 50s are the optimal time to form a smart approach to retirement. By this time, your children are likely to be at college or beginning their own careers. 

You may find that you have more after-tax pay than you did during your 30s and 40s. It’s also likely that you will have advanced in your own career, providing you with a higher salary than you had in prior decades when you were garnering experience. 

The window between your 50s and retirement represents a unique opportunity that you have to make financial adjustments to meet your retirement goals. 

Now is your time to focus on yourself and your own needs. You’ll likely have at least ten to fifteen years to reinforce your savings, pay off any mortgage debt, and build wealth with a target towards retirement. 

You may find that your financial and tax needs have become more complex. As you grow older, it’s common to realize that you need an estate plan in place to protect your assets and ensure their proper transfer should you pass on. You want to make sure that your family is financially secure and able to handle any problems that come their way. 

At the same time, you’ll also want to make sure that you protect your own wealth when you say goodbye to your career. As you begin to rely on your retirement savings and investment income, you want to be sheltered from any unexpected taxes that could put a damper on your retirement plans.

Importance of a Retirement Specialist

A retirement specialist knows the ins and outs of retirement. Their entire career focus is on ensuring that individuals have the means to retire safely and with enough funds to see them through the rest of their lives. 

These specialists aren’t distracted by other financial planning topics, and their goal is to give guidance to ensure that you avoid costly mistakes when you’re planning for your future. 

Someone who acts as an independent party to planning your retirement can open your eyes to mistakes that you may be making. They can help you through managing debts, paying off a mortgage, and investing in opportunities that will pay off down the line. 

In addition, they are able to ask questions you may not have considered. 

A retirement specialist can work to understand the lifestyle you expect to have once you enter retirement and help you manage your finances to meet those goals.

Clearly, the benefits of working with someone knowledgeable in financial retirement topics are plentiful. Make sure you choose a financial planner who has your best retirement interests in mind.