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Seven Steps For A Successful Financial Retirement Plan

Many people make excuses to put off planning for their futures. IRI, the Insured Retirement Institute, is committed to simplifying the process into manageable easy-to-follow steps. They want to convince Americans that a little effort now, can pay off big in the future. Here are some easy-to-remember guidelines to help you start planning your retirement.


1) Understand Your Current Financial Habits

Before you jump into retirement planning, it’s important that you establish an understanding of your current spending and saving habits. How much credit card debt do you have? How often do you impulse buy? Do you regularly set aside some money with each paycheck?

2) Set Goals

A retirement plan starts with setting some basic goals. When would you like to retire? Would you like to travel? Where would you like to live? Determine how much you need to save to achieve these goals.  Start living on a retirement budget prior to retiring.

3) Make A Plan

You need to create a financial retirement plan that matches your specific needs, goals, and resources. Make sure to develop a balanced plan addressing key financial components: tax-deferred investments (annuities, employer plans), mix of investments (stock, bonds, and mutual funds), insurance (health, life, long-term care), real estate, and Social Security.  It has to be a plan for your needs and your abilities.

4) Health Care Costs

Health-related issues will weigh heavily on how you structure your financial retirement plan. Therefore, when developing your plan, consider how long your retirement will be. Also, estimate your health care expenses and how active you will be in retirement. Health care costs easily increase 10-14% during retirement.  This really ads up and it is an area most don’t give enough weight to.

5) Seek Out Professional Assistance

Retirement planning can be a complex process. You should consider finding a qualified financial advisor. Talk to family, friends, or associates who can point you to someone who has helped them. Leverage existing relationships with financial professionals, e.g., banker, insurance agent, broker, or accountant, who are qualified to provide retirement planning services or guide you to an appropriate person.  I can help you with this.

6) Monitor Your Progress

Your retirement goals and financial situation will charge over time. Therefore it is important to review your retirement plan at least once a year and make adjustments if necessary.

7) Focus On Endurance

Retirement planning is a methodical, well-orchestrated effort to achieve financial security for the rest of your life. It shouldn’t be something you just start several years prior to retirement!  Above all, it’s all about ensuring that your retirement income will endure as long as you do. There’s nothing worse than running out of money before you run out of life.  Wouldn’t you agree?



About Sara Seasholtz

Sara Seasholtz, CFP®, was voted one of "50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte" by The Mecklenburg Times in 2011, and has assisted her clients with their financial planning needs for over 40 years. Have a financial question? ASK SARA!


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