When is the best time to start planning for retirement? If you ask most financial experts, the answer is mostly likely: “Yesterday.” When it comes to securing your finances for your golden years, the earliest time is the best time to start.
Advanced, careful and strategic retirement planning is even more important now that your retirement will most likely be drastically different from the retirement of your parents or even of people who are just a few years older than you. Today’s would-be retirees are facing multiple challenges that, when not addressed properly, can greatly affect your retirement lifestyle.
These challenges (or changes) that will have a huge impact on how your retirement will play out include the following:
The new ways of working
Thanks to new technology, the way people work has radically changed. Earlier generations followed a simple route: Stay employed within a prescribed number of years, and their retirement savings will more or less be enough once they reach their senior years.
Meanwhile, the concept of work continues to shift today. Many have quit their jobs, pursued entrepreneurship, worked on a freelance or contractor basis, and shifted to less linear (but sometimes more financially rewarding) paths.
If you have been involved in these new ways of working and generating income, your retirement plan should then be able to recognize and take advantage of these setups that you chose.
Longer life expectancy and rising healthcare costs
The average lifespan of people today is longer than earlier generations. This means you’ll need to have sufficient savings for several more years to meet your daily needs and to live a healthy life.
At the same time, trends show that healthcare costs are continuously rising, which is a serious concern since healthcare needs tend to increase and become more complex as well as people get older. Putting your 401(k) in order, looking for other sources of income, and making the right investments are some of the steps you can take to add more cushion to your plan.
While the economy has regained relative stability and progress compared to the situation some years ago during the global economic downturn, the level of volatility in the market is still something you need to seriously consider during retirement planning.
In the event of another unexpected shift in the economy, you’ll need to determine now if the usual platforms such as employment pensions, social security and government programs will be enough, or if it’s necessary to look for other ways to build up your savings, such as investing through stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other financial vehicles.