Retirement Planning It's never too soon or too late to begin saving for your retirement. Obviously sooner is better because your money has the opportunity to benefit from compounding interest and has a chance to rebound from market setbacks. How do you create a plan that optimizes the funds you have to invest and balances that with your potential long-term needs? Start to Save For Retirement Make the right moves with your money. If you're in the first 10 years of your career, you are in a great position to make the right financial decisions right from the start. If you are past that point and haven't gotten started yet, it's not too late to get on track. I can help assist with: How to spend less than you earn and pay off debt Why it pays to invest early and prioritize What basic investment concepts you should know Invest now and thank yourself later! At this stage in life you probably have a lot of competing financial priorities. You might be paying off debt, saving for a first home or starting a business or a family. Still, the advantages of saving towards retirement early while balancing your other goals cannot be overstated. Continue to save as much as you can. The money you save now still has time and maybe even decades to work for you. Using tax-advantaged savings plans to save as much as you can through maximizing contributions to your workplace savings plan and then open an IRA or Roth IRA. Max out your 401(k) Catch up with an IRA or Roth IRA Maximizing Your Employer Match Make sure you are taking full advantage of employer matching contributions to your workplace savings plan. If you are 50 or older, you may be able to take advantage of catch-up opportunities to potentially increase your retirement savings. Prioritizing other financial goals (e.g. child's college savings) after you have set up your retirement savings strategy. Consider lifestyle changes to save even more now and better position yourself for a secure retirement. Understand tax benefits and the most advantageous options for all of your financial goals. What You Are Currently Invested In and How You Can Optimize Those Investments People can change jobs many times over the course of their career and often leave behind 401k retirement plans with former employers. I can assist you in "gathering" your plans and/or reviewing your current plan and recommending a strategy to help you get those investment dollars working. If you change jobs, consolidate old workplace savings plans to keep better track of your money. Refine your Retirement Strategy Major life changes can impact your financial strategy. Marriage, divorce, the birth of children, death and inheritance can drastically effect how much you can afford to save for retirement. Once you have your retirement savings strategy in place, your debt is under control, and you're starting to think beyond your 401(k)/403(b), you can focus on life's other short and long-term goals. Now is your opportunity to expand your investment & portfolio strategy to save for multiple goals. It's time to: Map out your goals and understand various ways to save Identifying and prioritizing your short- and long-term savings goals (i.e. buying a car or home renovations vs. saving for college or a second home) Examining the tradeoffs, time horizons, and costs of each of your financial goals; and learning about the types of investments that may help you achieve your goals Learn about ways to structure your portfolio and investments Take steps to organize and protect what you have saved Ensuring you don't let your retirement savings slip Secure Your Future As you build wealth, it's important to have a plan in place to protect what you've saved. Your plan should include the following: Make sure your portfolio is on target- When saving for multiple goals you may want to evaluate how your portfolio aligns with your expanding savings needs. It is important to see if your asset allocation is in line with your time horizon, risk tolerance and is diversified based on your current situation. As your savings needs change, so will your target asset allocation. Don't forget to re-evaluate your portfolio regularly. Emergency Fund- At this stage, you should have enough cash to cover at least six months of expenses without having to tap into investments that are subject to market fluctuation or retirement savings. Insurance- Regularly review your health, homeowners, and auto insurance policies so that you have the adequate coverage to protect your family and your retirement savings in case of the unexpected. Consider term life insurance to protect those who rely upon your income.Wills- Having a current will is a critical first step in the estate planning process. Make sure that you have a financial plan in place to provide for your loved ones.Beneficiaries- As important as having a will, designating beneficiaries for your accounts ensures that your account assets are inherited according to your wishes. What To Do When You Retire For years, retirement meant putting money away; soon it will mean taking it out. Retiring with confidence requires a strong income plan and retirement investment strategy. With more lifestyle choices than ever before, you need to know what a successful retirement looks like to you to understand your income needs. 1. Know what your living expenses will be once you retire and the annual income you will need to cover them by understanding your income and expenses in retirement. 2. Keep the importance of asset allocation and periodic rebalancing in mind as you transition into retirement. Make sure your portfolio is allocated properly to match your needs and risk tolerance, which may be changing. 3. Create a sound strategy for generating income in retirement. You'll need to consider how important continued growth, income, flexible access to your money and principal preservation are to you and balance your income priorities. 4. Before you start using your savings in retirement, understand guidelines for your withdrawal rate and which accounts to withdraw from first.