It's said that human beings stand out from other species by virtue of our ability to think and plan ahead. While that may be true, most of us also have great trouble thinking about or preparing for the long term in the middle of our daily tasks and toil. Heck, it's difficult enough to plan something just six months ahead, like a summer vacation. How on earth are we supposed to be able to think about something in the distant future -- like retirement?
However, thinking in advance, and acting on those thoughts, are keys to being ready when the future becomes the present. The younger you are, the more distant your retirement -- and the greater your ability to compound your returns over time. That paradox can work to your advantage.
In this collection, we try to answer the important questions:
- How much will I need for my retirement in order to live comfortably?
- What are my goals?
- When should I start?
- What should I do?
- How much can I count on from Social Security?
- What costs might I run into once I've actually retired?
We all need to ask these questions, but with all our short-term preoccupations, we often wait too long to do so. These 13 Retirement Steps, along with a bevy of tools for running the numbers, can help you cut through the haze and see the realities that will make your golden years truly golden -- in fine Foolish fashion. Let's get started!
Questions about your plan? Consider a 30-day free trial to our Rule Your Retirement service, which features a monthly newsletter, solid asset allocation and investing advice, high-powered financial-planning tools, and professionally staffed discussion boards. Give it a complimentary test-drive.