What’s the single most important thing you can do to start successful retirement planning?
Just get started. As hard to believe as it might be, the single biggest factor in people not achieving a comfortable retirement is that they never make retirement planning a priority.
There’s a great list of simple steps you can take to prepare for your retirement. The list is the free download, 21 Critical Retirement Questions Answered. But here’s something you can do first.
Sit down with your spouse or significant other and see how many of these 20 statements you both can say “yes” to. Work on resolving any you can’t answer affirmatively. Think of this as the starting gate of your retirement planning. The first step in reaching the finish line is going through the starting gate.
Basic Retirement Money Checklist
Write Yes or No.
- My spouse and I have and stick to a household budget.
- My spouse and I spend less than we make and save the rest.
- Both of us contribute enough to our employee-sponsored savings plans so we can maximize our employers’ contributions.
- We have adequate insurance protection to avoid catastrophic financial loses.
- Saving and investing is a consistent part of our monthly financial routine.
- My spouse and I feel confident that our savings and investments are adequate to cover all the retirement and other financial goals we have for the future.
- We have little or no debt and keep any debt under control.
- We’ve reviewed our spending, eliminated some that’s wasteful and reduced other nonessential spending.
- The financial expectations my spouse and I have are realistic. We estimate future income, savings and investment gains conservatively. And we don’t downplay future financial risks.
- Our financial plan is in writing. We review it at least annually.
- We know and take advantage of key saving concepts like compound interest and tax deferrals.
- My spouse and I don’t overestimate the retirement help we might get from government programs like Social Security.
- Financially, we are better off today than we were 12 months ago. We think our finances will only improve in the next year.
- Our financial knowledge and know-how are adequate.
- We take advantage of the best investment choices available to us.
- My spouse and I invest in ways that will grow our money for the long term.
- We both feel we will achieve our retirement financial goals.
- We are frequently looking for new financial knowledge and tactics that may improve our situation.
- When questions or issues about money arise we talk about them and work things out.
- Along with preparing financially for retirement, my spouse and I are also preparing in other ways (like housing and health needs.)
Gene Offredi, CFP, RFC, Summit Investor Coach, Guilford, CT. Call 203.453.1017 or visit summitinvestorcoach.com.