Planning for Retirement: it's not Easy, but it Will be Worth it

Claire the Afena Mom Blog

Planning for Retirement: it's not Easy, but it Will be Worth it

Sep 16, 2015

In the Claire household, we don't talk too much about retirement. It seems so far away, and we're focused on paying down the mortgage, saving for education, and getting in some fun family vacations when we can. I've spent so much of my time thinking about, writing about, and actually planning our family's budget, and it's not always easy to make that switch from living and budgeting for the now to saving for retirement. Still, I know that the earlier you start planning for any savings goal, whether that be a new car, a vacation, or retirement, the better your chances are of reaching that goal in the time frame you're hoping for. So today is a great time to take a few minutes and make your plans for retirement. Here are just a few tips to help set those plans in motion.


1. Condition Yourself to Save

Fewer than one in five employees working in the private sector is covered by pension plans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and we won't even talk about where Social Security will be when we're ready to retire. So that puts the responsibility for financing your retirement squarely on your own shoulders. You know what I'm going to suggest, right? Make those savings automatic. Before your paycheck hits your checking account, make sure you're paying yourself first.


2. Choose Wisely

To make the most of the time you have to accumulate retirement savings, you need the right mix of investments for a solid rate of return. Of course, a lot of us aren't experts when it comes to investments, and for someone who likes saving and knowing that her money is "safe", this is a tough one for me. Still, you have to be strategic when it comes to planning for retirement. That brings us to the next tip ...


3. Get Professional Help

When it comes to planning for your retirement, you don't have to go it alone. A financial planner can help you develop a comprehensive plan to reach your goals and give you a pep talk when you start to slack, or you start to get nervous about market shifts. I visit Florence at Afena. In my experience, it's best to have an expert when you talking about stocks, bonds, and diversification.


4. Pay Off Debt

Here's a subject I am comfortable tackling on my own. Paying down your debt doesn't only let you save more for retirement, it also lets you sleep easier at night, enjoy your family more, and puts you in control of your finances.


5. Have a Vision as a Couple

If you're married or in a long-term relationship, you need to be talking about finances, and that means planning for retirement too. You'll be more invested in your plans if you form them as a couple, because you don't want to let your significant other down. And it's fun to plan for sleeping in, taking long vacations, and enjoying new hobbies and adventures. My husband and I have been talking a lot more about retirement lately. It's not that we haven't been saving, but I think it's getting higher on our list of priorities. My challenge for you? Make it a priority in your life too, no matter how near or far it is in the future. After years of saving, building a family and creating a home, I can't think of anything more rewarding than a long, happy, and prosperous retirement ...and I'm looking forward to it. I'm Claire, the Afena blog mom. Thanks for reading.