How To Plan For Retirement

Retirement. It’s a dreaded word in the English language. But the truth is that more and more people are living 20, 30, and even 40 years past retirement age. In many ways, retirement isn’t really the end, but rather the beginning of a new adventure. 

Retirement can be a nice break, but it can also be a stressful time if you haven’t prepared properly. It’s never too early to start planning for your future; even people just embarking on a career should keep a watchful eye towards the future.  Here are some tips and ideas to get you started on a successful and carefree retirement, whether you’re 24 or 64.

1. Plan out Your Estate. 

Regardless of your age, if you have children, pets, or property, you should have a will. There are laws that will distribute your property if you don’t have a will, but you may not like who it goes to. Making plans early on in life makes it much easier to adapt as your life changes. 

Many online filing services have packages you can purchase that guide you through the process so you can do it yourself, and you can even have the end result checked out by a lawyer. Complicated estate plans such as trusts, people with lots of wealth, and business owners may need to speak with an attorney from the start but it’s a lot less costly to do it right the first time then to have your family members dispute it for years to come.

2. Think about What You’ll Do with Your Business. 

After you decide what happens to your children and property, another big thing to consider is what you’ll do with your business. Essentially, as a business owner you have three options regarding the future of your business. The first is that you can leave it to your children. You can draft a will for your business that designates who should take over for you when you are gone, or you can just transfer the company over to your son or daughter when you’re ready to retire and he/she can continue to run it.

The second option is to sell your business when you’re ready to move on or retire. This requires a little bit of planning so you can get the true value back out of your business.

The last option is to do nothing with your business and let your family handle it after you’re gone.  In this situation, your business will probably be sold and your family will split the proceeds according to the will you’ve already drafted (oh, the convenience!). The only downside to this scenario is that your family may be forced to sell in a difficult market and may not get a good deal. 

3. Start Saving for Retirement. 

Lastly, after all your other plans have been made, it’s time to start saving. No need to save to the detriment of your current lifestyle, just a little bit every month can make a big difference. Just like with everything else, creating a plan is the best way to make sure you do what needs to get done. First, you should look into what your job’s benefits are at what age and think about when you’d like to retire. 

Next, it’s important to realistically think about what you’d like to do with your retirement and how much money you’ll need to make it happen. If you’ve dreamed of owning a yacht and sailing around the world, you’ll probably need more than someone who wants to live in the forest and practice fly fishing.  The point here is to just make sure you’re planning for it. 

Third, start putting away a little each month (or a lot, depending on your goal). Look into bank accounts that will earn you the most interest. Consider investments that are less-risky, although risking your entire retirement fund is not advisable regardless of the amount of risk involved. It’s a good idea to look into brokers or investment advisors when investing your retirement funds, they really are skilled in knowing which investments are safer than others (tip: many expenses on brokers and investment advisors are tax deductible).  The most important thing is to discipline yourself to start putting away a little at a time now.

Whatever you choose to do, the goal is always to make the transition from working to living the jet-set retirement lifestyle as worry-free and painless as possible. Saving and making plans early will allow you to do just that. Don’t fear retirement, embrace it!  When you’re lounging on a beach somewhere or travelling through Europe, just think about all the hassle you saved by planning ahead and smile. Maybe retirement won’t be so bad after all.


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