Getting ready for retirement can be tricky business. You must be prepared to make a lot of smart choices to ensure you are able to live comfortably when you don’t have traditional income. Whether you are 28 or 58, if you haven’t started planning for your retirement, you should start today. Here are 12 tips you can use to make planning for your retirement a little bit easier.


1. Start Saving Early

In order to retire and live comfortably, you have to start early. Of course, starting early can mean a number of different things. If you’re already over the hill and haven’t started saving for retirement yet, that just means you should start as soon as possible. You should set up a 401(k), Roth IRA or any other method of retirement as early in life as you can. The earlier you start, the longer your investments have to grow. That means that you should have more money in the future if you start putting in a little bit today. Even if you missed the “early” mark, it would be wise to start saving for retirement as soon as you can.


2. Look to Growth Stock Mutual Funds

You need to invest in the right sort of stocks. A growth stock mutual fund is a group of company stocks that experts have analyzed and expect to increase in value. Mutual funds are a good investment choice because you are able to invest in a variety of stocks. This eliminates the normal risks that come with single-stock investments because you don’t have all of your eggs in the same basket.

Picking the right mutual fund isn’t too difficult either. You should try to choose one that has been around for at least ten years. This will give you more data to look at, so you can make sure it is a sound investment. You should also make sure that the mutual fund invests in companies from a variety of business sectors to reduce the risk even more.


3. Diversify

You also need to make sure that you have a diverse portfolio. That means you want to invest in stocks, bonds, real estate and other different investment vehicles. Investing in mutual funds helps with diversification because you’re able to invest in a variety of companies in a variety of industries. However, you can diversify even more by putting money in commodities, rather than just in the stock market. Diversifying can help reduce the risk to your retirement fund while helping it grow. It’s good to start diversifying as early in the process as you can.


4. Make Long-Term Investments

Some investors want to buy and sell stocks to make money for their retirement. However, this isn’t always the best idea. If you only see stocks as short-term investments, you have a higher chance of losing money. Your retirement fund should be a long-term investment. You should put your money into your 401(k) and then not touch it until you are ready to retire. Making a long-term investment also means that you have to be ready to ride out the storms that may come with the stock market. The market dips and rises. That’s normal. In order to really successfully build your retirement fund, you have to be willing to stay committed to your stocks even if they’re having a bad day.


5. Think About the Costs

When you’re figuring out how much to invest, you have to try to figure out what you’ll need for your retirement. This means considering how long you’ll need money and how much you’ll need every month. But it also means thinking about extra costs. Many investors forget to think about the taxes they’ll have to pay and the cost of inflation. Think about how much more medical treatments, food and rent may cost in the future. It’s hard to do, but you have to try to make plans for the unknown and the associated costs.


6. Budget

It’s not surprising that in order to be able to plan for your retirement you have to be able to budget. You have to budget for right now. That means you have to make a financial plan that allows you to start saving money towards your retirement. Being smart with your money early on will make your retirement days much easier.

You also have to try to think of a budget for your future. How much money are you going to need each month during your retirement? This is a difficult question, but it’s one you have to think about if you want to successfully plan for your retirement. Otherwise you won’t have a realistic retirement fund goal.


7. Pay Off Debts

While you’re still working, you should try to pay off your consumer debt. You want to cut back on the long-term expenses right now, so you’ll be able to use your retirement money for food, rent and vacations. Experts suggest that you consider splitting your income into three sections.
The first, and likely largest, section of money would be dedicated to your day-to-day expenses, such as food, transportation, entertainment, and housing. The second should be focused on saving. This could be your retirement fund, emergency fund or whatever else you may need to save for. Finally, the third should be focused on paying off debts. Using this strategy will help you pay off debts while still saving for your future.


8. Get Organized

If you really want to be able to successfully plan for your retirement, you have to get organized right now. Make a financial plan and stick to it. Keep detailed records of your money, so it’s easy for you to look back and figure out where everything went. You should make it a habit to keep and file receipts, paystubs, tax returns and the like. If you make financial organization a habit now, it will be easier when you retire.


9. Consider a Reverse Mortgage

If you are already 62 years old, and you find that you need a little extra money for retirement, you should look at the advantages of a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows you to make draws from the wealth you’ve built up in your home. This source of cash flow is not taxed as income, and you can use it to supplement your traditional retirement income.
This is a great option for people who didn’t start planning early enough. However, this can also be a great option for those with well-funded retirements that wish to establish a growing line-of-credit during their retirement years.


10. Delay Retirement

Another way to make sure that you have enough money for your retirement is to delay it as long as you can. Keep working while you’re able to in order to make sure that your retirement fund will last longer. Americans are living longer, which means that you may need a larger retirement fund in order to live comfortably. Even if you delay retirement a few years this may still be true. However, delaying should give you some extra time to grow your fund a little bit. This doesn’t mean you can never retire, but it’s a great option if you need just a little more money.


11. Regularly Review

Once you make a retirement plan, you have to keep reviewing it. Like a budget, your needs may change. While you want to make long-term investments, that doesn’t mean that you just want to invest your money and forget about it. Review your investments, your goals, your retirement plan and all other aspects related to retirement. Many experts suggest that you want to review your financial needs at least every two years.


12. Work With a Financial Advisor

Finally, you want to work with someone who understands all aspects of personal finance. Working with a professional will ensure that you are more likely to make the right investment choices and stick to your goals. Many that try to do all of their retirement planning on their own find that they aren’t able to meet all of their goals.
Many financial advisors will be able to help you better understand insurance or risk management as well investing your money. In essence, they’ll be able to make sure that your investments are diverse and account for risk.


Get Ready for Retirement

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you should start thinking about retirement. Start making the necessary plans, so you will be able to live comfortably. For people without a plan, the thought of retirement can be stressful. However it doesn’t have to be. You should be able to look forward to your retired years. You will be able to,, if you take the right steps and properly plan for your retirement.