Planning your golden years

Financial EducationWV Retirement Plus
Dec 15 2015

While most Americans think they are on the track to a long and comfortable retirement, many will learn at retirement that they’re not as close as they would like to be. Taking some time now to plan for your retirement—no matter how close or how far away it may be—can help you get closer to your goal.


Know what you want

Before you even start to thinking about what it will cost, you have to know what you really want from your retirement. Do you really want a 30 or 40 year vacation? Or do you want to pick up a hobby you always wanted to learn? Work part-time? Move to a condo on a golf course or a beach in South America?


Establish your financial goals

There are many things that factor into determining how much money you’ll need to live comfortably in retirement. Life expectancy, rising health care costs, the desire to travel, even children or grandchildren who move in, can make retirement more expensive than expected. AARP has a retirement calculator to help you calculate what you might need.


Most people will receive income from two or three sources during retirement including Social Security, pensions or retirement savings, or part-time work. Make sure you understand what to expect from each.


Eliminate credit card debt

Make it a priority to pay off any credit card debt before you retire. Paying off debt on a fixed income is add unnecessary stress.


Decide where you want to live

Think about whether or not you would like to move after retiring and look into the cost of living in that area. If you are interested in a retirement community, check to see if living there will help or harm your ability to cut back on health care, food or utility expenses. If you are looking into moving to a new state or town, it could be worthwhile to see if there are tax advantages for senior citizens. Learning the financial details of where you would like to live will help you budget your retirement savings more accurately.


Consider health care costs and create an emergency fund

As we age, our medical costs tend to go up. Safeguard your retirement income by building a medical emergency fund into your retirement plan.


Put those mortgage payments behind you

Planning to pay off your mortgage before you retire can save you many financial headaches down the road. You’ll be a lot more comfortable without a large mortgage debt looming over your head. Most lenders allow you to prepay your mortgage by sending in extra money with your payment. You don’t have to follow an expensive schedule or pay for a bi-weekly payment plan. Just send in what you can, when you can, and make sure you designate that extra as addition “principal” payment.


Want more financial tips? You can learn more about this subject and view other financial education resources on our website.


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