Your retirement expectations vs. reality

Golf memberships, cruises to the Caribbean or Alaska, and naps at 3 p.m.; is this what retirement looks like to you? You spend your entire life working for the moment when you can quit your job and don’t have to look back. You’ve worked long hours and spent sleepless nights dreaming about retirement. But the question is: how well did financially plan for these dreams? After all, you have to pay for it.

Preparing for retirement may seem overwhelming. It’s easy to put a financial plan on the backburner and think you’ll get to it ‘someday.’ Well, someday never comes, and before you know it you’re retired and relying on $1,000 a month of Social Security to live off.

There are many factors to consider when planning for retirement. Take for example Rob, who worked for the U.S Air Force. He had served for 12 years and was seven years away from retirement. Unfortunately, he was passed over for a promotion and was involuntarily discharged. Since he left before full retirement age, he was not eligible for his pension. Rob had been banking on this pension for his retirement plan. At age 37 he had to create a new financial plan and begin the savings process. He is now a financial counselor to help navigate clients on appropriately planning for retirement and assessing risk. It’s his mission to help people avoid the frustration he endured.

You never know what’s going to happen within your career or personal life. Rob thought he had it all figured out, but he didn’t consider the loss of his job. It’s important to consider all scenarios when planning for retirement. Educating yourself will help you be more prepared for the future.

Two things people commonly forget when planning for retirement are determining your vision for retirement and using the resources you have available to accelerate the growth of your savings. Even if it’s maintaining your current lifestyle, you need to understand what retirement looks like to you. You can’t follow a road map if you haven’t chosen a destination.

Once you have determined your vision for retirement. Simply Money Advisors recommends working with a trusted financial planner (preferably a Certified Financial Planner™)to help you develop and execute your retirement plan. He or she will help you see all perspectives of your plan. Think of your financial planner as your financial ‘guide.’ Encouraging you, empowering you, and guiding you to sustainable lifestyle, today and in the future.

Including all the resources you have available in a personalized financial plan will help the planning process. Most companies provide workplace retirement plans. This is a great place to start. Many employees miss out on the opportunity to have their money work for them. They don’t take the time to educate themselves on their employer’s retirement plan, such as a 401(k). Talk to your human resources department for the guidelines on your program. Some companies will match your contribution up to a certain percentage. This is free money you can put toward your retirement, so make sure you’re saving at least enough to get that.

Ask your company if you can sit down with a financial planner from the company that oversees your 401(k) plan. This is a good point person to ask all your questions and decide what investment mix you should put your money in.

The Simply Money Point

There are many factors to retirement. Working with a trusted financial planner to plan and assess your retirement goals (and risks) will help with the success of your financial future. Have a clear vision of how you see yourself and your family in retirement. Use resources you have available to grow your retirement savings. By having a clear image of retirement, you can help make sure that your financial future starts today.

Want to see if you’re on track to meet your retirement goals? Our team at Simply Money Advisors is here to help.

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