DIY Retirement Planning – Getting Started

When putting your retirement plan together, there are several factors to take into consideration.  It can seem overwhelming with all the information available on the internet.  What is important to keep in mind is that it is your retirement and your dream. Protect it as if your retirement life depends on it. Because it does!  What is good for one person may not be a good fit for you and you’ll find yourself caught up in a Coke & Pepsi challenge debate. We are in a world of options and what is important is finding the options that are optimal for you.

Begin with Retirement in mind. Always approach your retirement planning with what you envision your retirement to look like for you.  What type of activities, where will you live, and at what age will you retire?  There are many questions to consider, and this is where we begin our retirement journey by flushing out the retirement dreams and ideas you have to design the retirement you dream of.  You are the architect of your retirement so let’s begin this journey.

Your retirement goals: Determine what kind of lifestyle you want to have during your retirement. Consider your desired living expenses, hobbies, and travel plans. This will help you estimate how much money you will need to save.

Your retirement age: Decide when you want to retire, and how many years you expect to live in retirement. This will help you determine how long you will need to save and how much money you will need to accumulate.

Your income sources: Consider all of your income sources, such as Social Security, pension plans, and retirement accounts, cash value life insurance, and any business income. Determine how much income you can expect from each source, and how much additional income you will need to save.

Your expenses: Determine your current living expenses and estimate your future expenses. Be sure to include healthcare costs, as they tend to increase in retirement. Will your house be paid off, will you have a car payment? Will you sell your home and live off the equity?

Your debt: Manage your debts so that you can free up more money for retirement savings. Pay off high-interest debt first, such as credit card debt.

Your investment strategy: Determine your risk tolerance and choose an investment strategy that is appropriate for your goals and timeline. Consider diversifying your investments to minimize risk.

Does your current employer offer an employer-sponsored plan like a 40k or pension?  Do they offer a match?

Your estate plan: Make sure you have a will, a power of attorney, medical directives, and other necessary estate planning documents in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

By considering these factors, you can develop a comprehensive retirement plan that will help you achieve your retirement goals. Remember to regularly review and adjust your plan as necessary to stay on track.

Mike Brenhaug

Retire Happy Professional


Mike Brenhaug