When you go on a long trip, especially if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been, creating a plan is one of the most important things you can do to get organized and feel safe. confidence to reach your destination. Planning for your future retirement shouldn’t be any different, as it requires the right amount of time, energy, and a holistic strategy. For example, if your goals include a worry-free retirement, financing your children’s education, or buying a home, a comprehensive plan can help you get there.
To guide you on your journey to a secure financial future, follow these steps to put your plan into action.
Get organized. Before starting a trip, one of the first steps is gathering your travel essentials, such as your passport, itineraries, and personal belongings. A similar approach applies to planning for your retirement. This includes getting your 401 (k) in order, creating a budget, and setting goals – getting organized and staying organized are essential parts of financial planning.
But how do you know what to assemble? Start with the basics.
First, think about budgeting and find a way to keep all of your information in one place. For example, online resources like Voya’s personal financial dashboard can help you manage and budget your finances in one place. These types of tools will help you track your daily spending and get detailed information about where your money is actually going.
Having the ability to organize, integrate, and manage all of your information in one place is a great starting point for organizing your financial life.
Set your goals. With any travel, knowing what to do and see is important to make the most of your time. When it comes to your retirement plan, you’ll want to know your goals in order to get the most out of your savings.
Your main planning goal is to figure out what you are working towards. Good financial planning begins with a conversation about your needs, wants and wishes. This includes questions such as: What is most important in your life? What makes you happy? Where would you like to live? What are your dreams for the future?
The more you know about what motivates you, the better you can work towards your goals.
Get professional help and advice. Just like how a travel agent or internet resource can help you plan a successful trip, so can your retirement.
It is often a good idea to work with a financial advisor because a successful financial plan can be built around this relationship. Together, you can craft an investment plan that includes everything from your retirement schedule and goals to your risk tolerance and future income needs.
Planning is much easier when you break things down into manageable pieces. To help you, try using these key planning strategies when meeting with your financial advisor:
- Assess your net worth
- Analyze your retirement income and health expenses
- Examine your cash flow and estimate any savings gaps
- Make sure you’re saving enough (for example, by taking deferrals from your paycheck and saving to an individual retirement account)
- Consider tax-efficient strategies and life insurance
- Optimizing social security strategies
- Understanding Your Retirement Income Plan
- Prepare and protect yourself from the unexpected
- Planning to leave a legacy
Be prepared to adapt your plan. When planning a trip, you should also know how to adapt that plan to certain eventualities. If you go to the beach and it rains, what do you do? Much like travel, a well-thought-out retirement plan can be damaged if you don’t take the time to monitor and adjust it.
A recent Voya poll found that only 20 percent of Americans have reviewed or made adjustments to their retirement plans in the past year. Developing and maintaining your plan takes more than just creating it. Regular reviews are needed to assess progress toward your goals and “right” along the way.
But remember, you don’t have to go alone. Working with an advisor can help you manage portfolio risk and potentially defer or reduce taxes.
A plan is like a journey – each stage of life presents new opportunities and challenges. No matter where you are on your path, be sure to review and adapt accordingly. As your life changes and evolves, so should your plan.