Before you ask if you are ready to retire, you need to build a foundation. In other words, you need to get started. This phase is not age dependent. Some start early while others start later. Some begin, take a break and then continue. Some start over after a significant change in life. It doesn’t matter what brought you here. If you are ready to get started on your journey towards retirement, this is the right phase and the right time for you.
Common themes/questions when Getting Started
Getting started is a fairly simple phase. Most plans can be simplified into four or five simple and often automated action steps. Understanding which actions to take and more importantly why you should take them provides a clear path towards the next phase in your planning journey.
Getting Started plans include discussions and reviews surrounding:
- How much should I save for retirement? If you hope to have assets to spend in retirement, pay for college or fund your other goals, you need to start saving today. Reviewing your plan during this phase provides clarity surrounding the amount you should be saving today.
- Where and how to invest. Now that you know how much you should save; we review where to save or invest it. You’ll have multiple account choices (brokerage, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Traditional 401k, Roth 401k). Reviewing your plan during this phase compares and provides guidance on where (account) and specifically which fund or asset class to consider in each account.
- What to protect. This phase typically has the most life changes. As life changes, your responsibilities also change. Reviewing your plan during this phase provides input surrounding insurance and estate planning decisions. In other words, it tests what could go wrong and considers options for protecting your risk.
Why you should consider Getting Started today
The most important reason to start today is time. Even if you feel you are getting a late start, you have more time today than you will a week, a month or year from now. More time equals more options. Unfortunately, having more time is often the reason people delay reviewing their plan until they are close to retirement.
The plan provides a clear roadmap. You will have a plan for how to invest, where to save, considerations surrounding taxes, and a plan for addressing what could go wrong. Everyone has a financial plan. By default, your plan is the combination of what you earn, spend, save, invest, and protect. It is important to understand if your current plan projects the level of success you desire.
Perhaps more importantly, a clear plan gives you permission to enjoy today, knowing you are making informed decisions about tomorrow. When you have a clear plan that outlines how much to save and where to invest, you gain permission to spend the rest. We often hear the completion of a plan allows families to move forward without the confusion (and often guilt) of spending today. Without a plan, you may wonder if you are saving enough or spending too much. You may take a vacation, but question if you are sacrificing your retirement.
If you question whether this is a good investment for you, we recommend interviewing us and other financial planners. Like most financial planners, we do not charge a fee for this meeting. Take time to understand the differences and decide what is best for you.