As we fall into a new season, staying focused on wellness may fade away with the summer tide. Whether we spent the first part of the year working towards that summer body or a desired fitness goal, we tend to lose focus during the fall and winter months.
Year after year, we put a lot of time and effort into getting ready for summer or that special occasion to look and feel great. So why don’t we take that kind of time when we are planning for our financial future? Like most dieting plans, reaching those goals doesn’t happen overnight. The same is true for retirement; if you start planning a few years before the event, odds are you will neither reach your goal nor be able to maintain it.
Get a Plan. The first step is to know how much you’ll need in retirement. In dieting, knowing your calorie intake amount prior to starting your diet will help with meal planning and exercise routines. The same is true for retirement: your age, how much you are saving, and your desired lifestyle will help determine the target amount needed.
Retirement looks different to everyone. For some, it’s travelling the world while others may want to spend more time with the grandkids, or both! Regardless of your retirement goals, it’s essential to know how much you will have so you can plan accordingly. However, if you don’t have a current budget, you need to put yourself on one. Knowing what you spend, what you make, and if there’s anything left over is the precursor to a plan.
Next is the allocation of the investment mix. Comparing this to a diet plan, your age, level of activity, proper percentage of macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) will assist in reaching your goal weight. Needless to say, your investment pie is not any different. Your age, the amount you are saving (and have saved) regularly, and the proper percentage of equities, fixed income and cash, will need to be determined.
Maintain, Maintain, Maintain. In dieting, once your goal weight is reached, you’ll need a plan to maintain it. Going back to old habits will throw all that hard work out the door! The same is true when planning for retirement. Staying on track will easily be derailed if bad habits creep into the mix. We know “life happens,” so set parameters, adjust, and get back on track as soon as possible.
Maintaining your investment strategy is also important. As time progresses, your goals will need to be adjusted. You’ll need to look at your financial pie and make changes accordingly. The closer you get to your desired retirement age, the allocation pie will shift to include more conservative options, such as fixed income (also known as bonds) and cash.
If you continually think about what you are spending and saving and adjust along the way, you will be well on your way to your retirement fitness goal.
Michele Sarna is a financial advisor at Beacon Pointe and can be reached at (760) 932.0930.
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