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Everyday Finances - How to Get Your Finances Retirement Ready

After working for years, you’re starting to dream of retirement; but before you can take the step into retirement, you have to get your finances in order. The first step to preparing your finances is planning what you’d like your retirement to look like.
5-1 Retirement Planning
Preparation is the key to a successful financial retirement. Credit: shutterbug75-2077322/

By planning, you can create the base financial requirement outline and begin preparing appropriately. This includes all regular expenses, travel plans, potential downsizing and new purchases.

Reduced Expenses

In almost every life situation, your main income comes from working. When taking the step into requirement, your income shifts from a regular paycheck to a more fixed income from investments, pension plans and other passive income. Though different for every person, the total income amount is typically smaller than your working paycheck.  To prepare for the reduced income and avoid overextending your funds, it’s a good idea to pay off debt and reduce your living expenses. This includes paying down credit cards, car loans, your mortgage, and other debts. It’s also important not to take out any new loans, if possible, as they often have long-term payment terms that can strain your retirement income.

A strong forecast for your retirement is especially helpful in this situation, as it will allow you to generally see the amount of funds you’ll need. If you can easily afford to continue payments on your car or house, this step may not be necessary. However, if you find that your retirement income can’t support your payments, it’s important to take action and pay off those loans before retirement. You may also need to factor in part-time work to make up the difference.

Savings Buffer

Even with clear plans and stable finances going into retirement, there are often unexpected expenses that can leave you struggling to maintain your path. This makes a strong savings account a beneficial safety net.

The amount of savings needed for each person depends on your plans for retirement. If you plan to live a quiet life in a small home, you may need less savings than if you’d like to travel the world, have a larger home and keep more vehicles and equipment that could require repair or replacement. When considering how much of a buffer you need to build, it’s also helpful to take into account your medical history, as long-term health issues can end up weighing heavily on your finances.

Tax Advantaged Investments

By taking advantage of the tax freedoms and managing your investments, you can maximize your returns to increase your retirement income.  Some employers also have great retirement investment incentives that can multiply your contributions.

Some investment accounts have restrictions on how long you can deposit and withdraw funds. Each investment also features different tax advantages and may limit the amount of funds you can deposit per month or year. These varying restrictions and rules make it very important to thoroughly research the options available to you before choosing one. The earlier in your career that you start to invest in your retirement the better, but even if retirement isn’t far down the road, take advantage of all programs available.

Retirement is one of the big milestones in life. Make sure yours is everything you want it to be. Preplanning and taking steps to prepare your finances opens doors for you down the road, giving you many more options for your golden years. Even if your retirement is years away, planning now and building up funds will pay off in the long run.

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