Retirement: Understand your options

Whether you have plans to retire early or simply want to retire comfortably, it's important to set realistic expectations and then make a plan to achieve them. We'll help you learn some of the right questions to consider, and we'll do our best to help you work toward the right answers.

When to Retire and What You Need to Consider

Planning ahead for retirement is critical, and determining your retirement age is a key step in the process. Review these important factors today so you're ready when it's time to pursue the retirement you've dreamed about.

Evaluate your savings

Include the value of pension plans, 401(k) accounts, individual retirement accounts, other investments and projected Social Security benefits.

Know your reasons

Are you ready to leave a stressful job? Or, are you ready  to pursue a new chapter? Knowing why you want to retire can help as you consider income and expenses.

Define your lifestyle

Laying out your expectations will help you make the most of your retirement. In addition to basic expenses, consider the kind of lifestyle you want.

Setting Expectations for a Comfortable Retirement

Plenty of Americans cling to unrealistic expectations when it comes to retirement. It's important to understand how far your nest egg can take you and how you can work with a financial advisor to grow it.

Expectations vs. reality

Studies indicate that some workers make plans to compensate for insufficient savings such as working longer, spending less and earning income in retirement. But they may not be realistic.

Set a savings plan

The first step is to set a realistic retirement goal based on facts and figures — without guesswork. Only after determining an achievable goal can you begin to make a plan for your post-work future.

Learn how advisors help

Work with your financial advisor to assess your retirement savings plan. A good advisor who's looking out for your best interests will help you set expectations and put you on the right track.

Planning Early Retirement

Would you like to have the flexibility to leave your job before the Social Security full retirement age of 65 or 67 (depending on your birth year)? It may be an option, depending on your savings and willingness to make tradeoffs.

Keep (or start) saving

To work toward your goal of early retirement, look for opportunities to save more, particularly once your mortgage and college expenses subside.

Reduce your spending

Consider ways to reduce your planned retirement spending rate, perhaps by moving to a smaller home or a less expensive part of the country.

Learn the pros and cons

You may qualify for penalty-free distributions from your employer's retirement plan, but there are advantages to delaying retirement. Learn the pros and cons before making a decision.

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