You have different concerns at each stage of your life - the same goes for retirement planning. In your 20s you may focus on paying off debt. Your 30s may bring on house payments and a partner to share the wealth. You may have more responsibilities - like children - in your 40s. When your 50s arrive, college costs could be your focus. Once you hit your 60s, and decide that you're ready to retire one day, it may be too late. Here are ways you can plan for retirement by the decades, so you aren't hit with a retirement planning realization too late in life.
These years are all about preparation and laying a foundation. You should be working to build a cash reserve and saving as much as you can. Create a debt payment plan. Sign up for your company’s 401(k) or save into an IRA. Invest for growth.
Maintain the cash reserve you’ve started. Be careful with how much debt you take on when buying cars or a house. Continually increase your 401(k) contributions with a target set to max it out (currently set at 18,500k/year)
Continue to maintain your reserve. Make sure you’re saving for your kids’ college, weddings, and other needs, but don’t completely sacrifice your needs for theirs. Don’t stop saving for retirement even if other events come along. Try to increase the percentage that you save each year. Utilize your after-tax savings in a 401(k) if you’re able.
Create your target retirement portfolio and adjust it annually if needed. Stay on track with a plan, but start thinking about the soft side of retirement. Consider where you will live, what you will do, and what you will spend. These are easy questions to put on the backburner, but you’ll want to have a plan when you enter the next stage of your life.
You made it! You worked hard to get here, so go out and enjoy the benefits of your hard work. Retired life is supposed to be a new adventure—go travel, start a new hobby, or do the things you never got around to doing.
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