Retirement planning is an ongoing, lifelong process that takes decades of commitment in order to receive the final payoff. The idea of accumulating hundreds of thousands of dollars in a retirement nest egg certainly can seem intimidating, but with a few basic calculations and commitment to a feasible plan, it's not difficult to achieve.
Some Basic Planning Strategy
As a result of an increasingly aging population, governments may be forced to suspend social security benefits in the future. As a result, the responsibility for financing retirement is being transferred to individuals. How much money you'll need to save for retirement will depend on your desired standard of living, your expenses and your target retirement age.
Retirement Factors & Considerations
Determine your retirement age
Decide the income you'll need in retirement
Total the current market value of all your savings
Determine a real rate of return for your investments
Obtain an estimate of the value of your pension plan
Estimate the value of your social security benefits.
How and Where will you live
Assume that an annual inflation rate of 4% will erode the value of your investments and adjust your savings plan accordingly to provide yourself with a margin of safety.
Income Sources & Investment Options
Income during retirement may come from the following sources:
1) employment income, 2) social security, 3) employer-sponsored retirement plans, 4) savings and investments, 5) other sources of funds, including inheritance money, prizes and lottery winnings, gifts, raises, bonuses and real estate.
There are several investment options that can be used to achieve your retirement savings goals. These include, but are not limited to, governments-sponsored vehicles (IRAs, 401(k)s, RRSPs etc.), company pension plans, other products such as annuities and life insurance.
Beginning to save for retirement at an early age is one of the biggest factors in ensuring success.
The power of compounding also works with taxes - using tax-deferred investment vehicles can help you to maximize your rate of savings. Asset allocation is a key factor in building any successful portfolio. The assets you choose will depend on your risk tolerance and investment time horizon.
Diversification will help you to reduce the amount of risk in your portfolio, increasing the chances that you'll reach your retirement savings goals.
Make saving a priority by setting up automatic payments from your checking account to your retirement savings account, make the maximum salary deferral contribution to your employer-sponsored retirement plan and work aggressively to pay down large debts that can reduce your saving rate.
Make a household budget to ensure that you are contributing as much as possible to saving for retirement and aim to reduce unnecessary expenses.