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Retirement Planning 101: A Financial Roadmap for a Secure Future According to research by the American Psychological Association, the total number of American citizens in the 65 and older age bracket is on track to double from 46 million to...

By Kiara Taylor

This story originally appeared on Due

According to research by the American Psychological Association, the total number of American citizens in the 65 and older age bracket is on track to double from 46 million to over 98 million by the year 2060.

With so many incoming senior citizens preparing to retire, there are widespread fears and questions about how they will live and how they will support themselves. Doubts about how to continue to save enough money for retirement can cause plenty of anxiety. Luckily, there is guidance available.

Whether you are already enjoying your Golden Years and getting a late start in planning for your retirement or you are considering the benefits of major life decisions, such as going back to college, there are steps you can take and advice you can follow to ensure that you will be able to embrace your retirement. In this article, we will reveal essential tips and practical steps to ensure that you can benefit from a comfortable retirement, with total peace of mind. What To Know As You Begin Retirement Planning

There's a saying — "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is now." The same goes for retirement planning. The sooner you start setting aside money specifically for retirement, the more value those funds will accumulate. Your retirement income will most likely come from a few sources, including your retirement plan, your Social Security benefits, and any investments you have that continue to generate passive income.

A Financial Roadmap for a Secure Future

A general approach to saving for retirement is to save the equivalent of about twelve years of your annual income from before you retire. Often this amounts to around 1 million USD. Another approach is to follow the 4% rule, or its variations—6% and 7%. This rule encourages you to limit your annual spending each year once you retire, staying within a specified percentage of your retirement- either 4%, 6%, or 7%.

As you prepare to plan for your retirement, you will want to outline timescales, make informed budget projections, watch out for potential risks on the horizon, figure out where to invest wisely and plan for the legacy of your estate. Let's delve deeper into each of these important steps in planning for a happy and worry-free retirement.

Set Clear Retirement Goals

First things first: as you set out to make your plans and follow your retirement saving strategies, you will want to be extra clear about what your personal goals are for your retirement. Some important categories to be aware of as you craft your retirement strategy include the following:

Estimate Your Retirement Expenses

Based on your current age and the age you plan to retire, you will want to craft a realistic estimate of how much funds you will need to have in your retirement savings.

Take an account of all of your income-generating assets and savings accounts to produce a big-picture overview of the funds that will support you in your retirement.

  1. Risk Management

There are a number of common risks to consider that may pose problems once you are ready to retire. These concerns can include running out of savings during your retirement, unexpected expenses such as home remodels, retirement living, or medical fees, and extremely costly medical bills that can make a big dent in your savings.

Creating a risk management plan as part of your overall approach to retirement will allow you to account for these probable challenges down the line.

  1. Creating a Stable Legacy

You want to make sure that your loved ones are comfortable and taken care of once you move on. So including estate and legacy planning in your retirement strategy is key.

To ensure a stable, lucrative legacy for your next of kin, assemble a list of your intended beneficiaries and guardians, and assign the power of attorney. Assess all of the assets you will be able to pass on and determine which of these will continue generating value even when you outlive them.

Craft A Personalized Budget

Creating a realistic budget that suits your personal needs and requirements is the best way to ensure that the savings you project will actually fit with your lifestyle.

Craft a personalized budget that allows you to set aside a particular amount each paycheck, quarter, or month. Take into account your total income, your regular expenditures, and any extra seasonal expenses (such as summer vacations or winter holiday gift-buying sprees). Most importantly, include a contingency amount for unexpected expenses.

Be honest with your assessments. The more straightforward and comprehensive your budget is, the more it will provide a realistic depiction of your future savings prospects. With all of this information, you can build up a budget you will actually stick with- and your future self will thank you for it.

Smart Investment Strategies

The best investment strategies to support you in your future retirement are those that provide stable, consistent passive income once you reach retirement. You should have a diversified portfolio with a variety of investment types to ensure long-term stability that can withstand fluctuations in the market- and your own personal life circumstances.

Investment Options for Generating Passive Income

For those who are getting close to the age of retirement, there are several types of investment options that can benefit you the most, actively supplementing your retirement savings and Social Security income.

The best investment options to support you in your retirement are:

  • Bonds
  • Annuities
  • Income-producing Equities

Essential Tools for Managing Your Cash Flow

Getting to know the tools available to you is a key way to ensure that you are efficiently managing cash flow within your investment ventures, which will allow you to rest easy knowing you are saving for retirement. Let's take a look at two crucial tools for cash flow management.

Short Term Fixed Income Payouts

Rather than receiving all of the funds from your investments in one go, you can opt to use a cash flow management program that limits your payouts to short-term fixed-income deposits.

This way you will be sure to receive a regular amount without the concern of overspending.

Invoice Factoring

Generating passive income often requires a hefty initial investment, whether it's in real estate, stocks, or your own business venture. For those who own a small business as part of their investment portfolio, maintaining a stable cash flow can sometimes be a challenge, especially when waiting for invoices to be cleared.

Some entrepreneurs opt for solutions like invoice factoring, which offers immediate cash, improves cash flow, and allows for better financial planning. These benefits make it an option worth considering as you build your diversified portfolio for early retirement.

Maximize Contributions To Your Retirement Accounts

You may already be receiving contributions to your retirement accounts from your employer or a government-funded initiative. Consider maximizing the contributions to your retirement accounts by matching the amount your employer contributes to your workplace retirement account, or match the amount you have stored up in your health savings account (HSA).

Look for tax-efficient retirement withdrawal plans, such as a Roth IRA or spousal IRA that can allow you to maximize your retirement savings while minimizing taxable payouts.

Final Thoughts

Saving for retirement can be a multifaceted experience. You need to create a realistic budget, take into account your retirement savings goals, explore the clever investment options available to you, and become familiar with the helpful tools. This can allow you to maximize your cash flow and retirement savings withdrawals, and you will be in a great position to live a happy and comfortable retiree's life.

Following these key steps will ensure that you have all you need to build up a solid financial base as you live out your golden years with confidence.

The post Retirement Planning 101: A Financial Roadmap for a Secure Future appeared first on Due.

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