Getting a Head Start on Retirement Planning

Want to get a head start on retirement planning? Instead of looking at your current financial situation and asking yourself how much you can afford to save, try looking at the process in reverse. Ask yourself, or your financial planner, how much money you'll need at retirement to support the standard of living you desire.

In other words, decide what your retirement planning goals are, and work backwards from those goals. This is the best way to figure out the amount that you need to start saving, and it can help you decide how aggressive or conservative you need to be with your investments. When you know how much money you'll need at retirement, and how long you plan to work before you actually do retire, you'll be able to determine a plan of attack for saving for retirement.

A qualified financial planner can be of great assistance with this process. He or she will know what questions to ask to help you define your goals. After all, the thought of deciding how much money you'll need at retirement can be quite a daunting task. Many variables affect the decisions you'll need to make to chart a path to financial security in your retirement years, and your financial adviser is a valuable resource for helping you identify them.

After setting your retirement planning goal and working through the process with your financial planner, you'll have a more clear and realistic idea of how you need to save, how long you'll have to work, and what kind of retirement lifestyle you can expect to have if you approach retirement planning from this angle. Of course, it's up to you to actually start saving money for retirement, and stick to the schedule that will get you to your long term goal. You're the only person who can make your retirement dreams come true.

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