What Does Retirement Look Like?

Congratulations on exploring the road to retirement! You’re on the right path to creating a financially secure future. It’s definitely never too early to start, because when it comes to retirement planning, youth is a big advantage. And, it’s easier than you may think. All you need are goals, a savings plan and the initiative to get going.

Have you ever wondered what retirement would be like? The lifestyles of today’s retirees are vastly different from those of their parents. Today’s retirees have active lives. They spend time with family and friends, travel, launch new businesses and second careers, volunteer and play sports. There are even Senior Olympics events! With a little planning and an early start, your retirement lifestyle can be exactly what you envision.

Setting Goals

Planning your retirement now is a smart idea. The first step is to decide on your goals, because you’ll be able to use them to develop an action plan. You’ve set goals to achieve things throughout your life, like getting an education, a job and a new car. Planning your retirement is no different. All you need to do is make 4 decisions:

Lifestyle: Figure out what you’d like to do when you’re retired.

Timeline: Decide when you want to retire.

Retirement Savings Plan: Determine what type of retirement savings plan best fits your needs.

Long-Term Planning: Understand how much money you’ll need to save and how many years it will take to reach your goal.

Lifestyle

Figuring out what you’d like to do in retirement is fun and an important part of the planning process. Imagine yourself at your retirement party. What is next for you? Some retirees pursue hobbies, coach or mentor others. Many take a class or do the things they’ve always wanted to do (but never had the time). What would you like to do? How do you envision your retirement? Now, more than ever, retirees have so many options. No matter how you visualize your retirement, you’ll need to create a savings plan to help you get there.

Timeline

Once you’ve decided what you’d like to do during retirement, you’ll need to decide when you want to retire. Your savings goals for retiring early—say, age 50—will be very different from what they’d be if you plan to work until you’re 60, 70 or beyond. The longer you’re retired, the longer you’ll need to depend on your savings instead of a paycheck and the more money you’ll need to save. Starting a savings plan now can give you a big advantage thanks to the magic of long-term compounding interest.

Over time, as you deposit money into your account, you’ll not only earn interest on what you deposited, but you’ll also earn interest on the interest. So, making regular deposits, even small amounts like $100 a month, can help small balances grow substantially over time.

Retirement Savings Plan

There are different types of retirement savings plans, including IRAs, Roth IRAs and 401(k)s. We’ll explain some of these in a little more detail later, but deciding on how you’ll save is just as important as knowing how much you’ll need to save.

Long-Term Planning

Once you’ve decided on your desired lifestyle, your timeline and your retirement savings plan, you can figure out how much money you’ll need and can make a plan to divide that amount over the number of years you have to save it. Just start with whatever you can afford—even if it’s only $10 a week. You can do it! Then commit to increasing the amount you save as your financial situation improves. The key to success is getting into the habit of saving.

Maybe you’re wondering how much you need to save. Many financial advisors suggest you’ll need 80 to 100 percent of your pre-retirement income during your retirement years. Since you’re starting early, that is entirely doable.

Financial Security During Retirement

Your age when you start saving and the amount you save every year have the greatest influence on how much income you will have during retirement. If you start saving for retirement when you're young, even if it's a small amount, you're more likely to develop a lifelong habit and enjoy a more secure financial future.

Use the calculator below to envision scenarios specific to your situation.

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