How Much Time Should You Spend On Retirement Financial Planning?

Spend the right amount of time planning your retirement -- it is your life!

Spend the right amount of time planning your retirement — it is your life!

Would you believe some people give retirement financial planning less attention than planning a vacation, choosing a restaurant or buying a television? It’s a bit scary, but it’s also true according to some recent research. Retirement isn’t an event, and it’s not something to buy. It’s your life and your future. If you want to keep your current standard of living for the long haul, you’ll need to allocate adequate time it takes to make it happen.

So, how much time does it take?

Retirement financial planning

Retirement Planning Should Take More Time than Planning a Vacation

Mach 1 Financial Group says some Americans allocate more time and effort toward planning a vacation than they do to their retirement. But a vacation only lasts a week or two; retirement lasts years.

While there are similarities between vacation planning and retirement planning — you need to decide  how you want to spend your time, where you want to spend your time and figure out how to pay for that — the big difference is time.  Vacations might be a week or two.  Retirement is the rest of your life and sometimes as long as 30 years or more. Retirement is a 1,560 week long vacation.

So let’s say you spend 20 hours planning your two week vacation then perhaps you need to spend over 30,000 hours planning retirement.  While 30,000 hours may sound onerous, ideally you create your plan over years and years.

Retirement Planning Should Take More Time than Choosing a Restaurant

Believe it or not, Teacher’s Insurance and Annuity Association of America says picking the right restaurant gets more than its fair share of time, when compared to planning an IRA investment. And an independent survey of slightly over 1,000 people showed that only 17 percent even contribute to an IRA at all.

Saving and investing is a very important part of retirement planning.  As such, it is worth it to spend time researching your IRA options.  It can seem totally overwhelming and you might not feel that you have the expertise to make the right decisions.  You know what kinds of food you like, so choosing a restaurant is fun and easy.  If you don’t have investment knowledge, it is easy to understand why you might not want to spend time figuring it out.

The good news is that you have options for finding help: financial advisors, low cost online investment resources and retirement calculators can improve your chances of making a better decision.  You can also just spend the time and talk with your bank or human resources office.

Pencil in some time for learning about how IRAs work and how much you can contribute. They’re not intimidating once you know the ropes. If you’re not contributing to your company’s 401(k) plan, schedule an appointment with your benefits coordinator.

And it is almost never too late. When retirement is imminent, contribution caps are higher, which helps make up for lost time.

Retirement financial planning

Retirement Planning Should Take More Time than Buying a New Television

The same study found that people spend more time researching and buying a new flat-screen TV than on retirement planning. It’s important to be a smart shopper, but it’s also important to secure your future. A new television will be outdated in a few years, probably before your retirement arrives.

If you can figure out contrast ratios, power consumption and screen resolution for buying a TV, then you can figure out your investment options.

Retirement Planning — You Need More than Social Security

It seems that many people think that retirement will take care of itself and that perhaps Social Security will be enough to get by.

If you retire at age 66, USA.gov says the maximum Social Security benefit you can receive is $2,642 monthly. That might sound like a comfortable living to some. But to qualify for the maximum, you’d have to have earned over $100,000 annually every year between the ages of 21 and 66. Without a backup plan, such as an IRA and 401(k), your Social Security benefits will probably be less than you need.

Spend the Time But You Can Also Use Shortcuts

Retirement might seem far off, but every day it’s a bit closer. While you’re planning a vacation or thinking about a major purchase, the clock keeps ticking.

Retirement planning doesn’t have to consume your life. But it does merit at least as much attention as you’d give to finding the best steak in town.

There are not a lot of resources to help you determine how and where you want to spend your retirement, those are decisions that you can work out on your own.  Once you have an idea of what you want your retirement to be, go ahead and get some help to make it a reality. Financial planners are retirement planning experts that can tell you exactly what you need to do. Online Retirement Calculators can also help you approximate options.

The Key to a Happy Retirement?

A Great Retirement Plan!

The NewRetirement Retirement Calculator makes it easy to improve your retirement security.

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