Financial security is the ultimate goal in retirement. But how do you get there? In this article, we’ll discuss what’s important to consider when setting your goals so that you can start planning for a comfortable and secure future.
How much will you need to retire?
A retirement plan is essential because it helps you determine how much you’ll need to save and ensures that your retirement goals are realistic. The key to setting a realistic retirement plan is knowing how much money you need each year after you stop working. This will help determine what kind of investment portfolio will give you the best chance at reaching this target amount within your timeframe.
What do you want your retirement lifestyle to be?
The first step to setting a retirement goal is determining how much money you’ll need to live on in retirement.
Two factors determine how much you need to maintain your current lifestyle:
- The level of spending at which you would like to live each day
- The number of years until you retire (and the amount of time until Social Security kicks in)
If you want to start investing but don’t know how much money to put aside, it’s important to understand what you’re saving for and what kind of lifestyle you want after retirement. This will help you estimate how much money needs to be saved over time so that it will be enough for both short-term and long-term goals (such as college tuition) when the time comes.
What are your current expenses?
Planning for your future means understanding your current situation. You need to know your current expenses to know what income you have left over that could be used for investments. To find out what extra income you have to work with to reach your retirement goals, start by:
- Tracking your expenses, at least for a month or two. This includes the money you spend on housing, food, transportation, entertainment, and other costs. You should also include any debt payments that you make each month. The more you understand about your current financial situation and what it costs to live each day, the easier it will be to determine how much money needs to be saved for retirement.
- Deciding where you can reduce your spending and redirect that money elsewhere.
Is a Roth IRA right for you?
When planning retirement, it’s important to consider what investment vehicles may suit you. If you are self-employed, employed by a startup or small business, or your employer does not offer a retirement plan, consider setting up an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA). A Roth IRA is one type of IRA that offers tax advantages.
Roth IRAs are like traditional IRAs in many ways. Both types allow you to invest money on a pre-tax basis and grow your investments tax-free until withdrawal. The difference between Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs lies in how the contributions are treated once they’re made:
- Contributions made to traditional IRAs can be deducted from your taxable income for that year; however, withdrawals from these accounts will be taxed as ordinary income in retirement (when you’re probably in a lower tax bracket).
- Contributions made to Roth IRAs are not deductible; however, qualified distributions — those taken after age 59½ and after five years of participation — are not subject to any taxes.
If you’re overwhelmed by these questions, don’t feel you have to answer them all right now. Take a step back, think about what matters most, and then move forward. If all else fails, remember that this is an ongoing process—it doesn’t need to be perfect on day one! If you’re seeking guidance on your retirement planning and wealth management, we’re happy to help. Contact us today for an introductory meeting.