Start planning your financial future
How to get started in planning your financial future
This task can seem daunting, but taking these first steps doesn't need to be intimidating.
If you don’t have much experience with planning for retirement, getting started can seem daunting. However, taking first steps doesn’t need to be intimidating. A good starting point is to consider some important questions: Where do you stand in terms of your income and future financial needs? What are your financial and lifetime goals? And, how long do you have to reach them?
Retirement is typically one of the top financial goals you’ll work toward. It may be the furthest out, but any good financial plan starts with figuring out how much you’ll need to live on during your retirement years, putting a strategy in place to get there, and then addressing your shorter-term needs. Ongoing advances in medical care have resulted in an unprecedented increase in life expectancy over the last few decades. The average American today is living a longer life than his or her counterpart of a generation ago. This means that the average person leaving the world of full-time work at age 65 can reasonably expect to spend 20 to 30 years or more in retirement. Having the freedom to live life your way during retirement will depend, at least in part, on having a plan that aligns with your personal goals.
Envision the retirement you want
Another factor in figuring out how much income you will need in retirement is picturing how you want to spend your retirement years. Do you want to travel? Own a second home? Leave a legacy to your family, charity, or alma mater? Or maybe you just want to live a simple lifestyle with the primary goal being to cover your basic expenses. Now’s your time to think through the world of possibilities, because the sooner you start planning — and saving — the better able you are to reach your goal.
Time is your friend
Setting aside even a small amount each month can add up over time. One common and effective strategy is to use traditional retirement vehicles, such as an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA), and set up automatic contributions. While each of these types of retirement accounts has unique rules, all offer tax benefits that can add up over the long term. Even if you’re nearing retirement, it’s not too late. If you are 50 or older, “catch-up contributions” help pre-retirees stash even more into their 401(k) or IRA than the basic contribution limits each year.
How should you allocate your money?
How you allocate the money you’ve accumulated — and the goal-related products you choose — are probably the most critical factors when it comes to creating a retirement plan. As mentioned, there are IRAs for retirement goals, as well as guaranteed lifetime income products, but depending on your life stage, you may want to consider other solutions as well. For example, cash value life insurance could help protect your family’s financial security and serve as an effective estate planning tool.
Diversification helps balance risk
Diversification can be summed up in the phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Regardless of the types of retirement product solutions you invest in, don’t bet your retirement nest egg on just one. The types of products you select should vary depending on factors like your risk tolerance and retirement time horizon. These two factors work hand in hand. The further out your retirement, the more risk you may be comfortable in taking with your investments. When it’s time to determine the products and financial strategy that’s best for you, you may want to consult with a financial professional who can help you map out a sound plan. In the meantime, make sure you have a clear vision for your goals, so you’ll be better prepared to plan your financial future.
Please contact Scott E. Pettyjohn at Topside Financial, LLC for a review of your Financial Future (540) 273-6549
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Securities, investment advisory and financial planning services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC Member SIPC, www.sipc.org Supervisory Office: Overlook 1, 4880 Sadler Road, Suite 110, Glen Allen, VA 23060-6151, Tel: 804-346-1011. Topside Financial, LLC is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC or its affiliated companies