It's said that we 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, as we're continuously caught up in everyday tasks and toil. Heck, it's difficult enough to plan something six months ahead, like a summer vacation. How on earth are we supposed to think about something in the distant future -- like retirement?

Nevertheless, thinking in advance and acting on those thoughts is key 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 window of time is your greatest advantage.

In this collection, we try to answer the important questions:

  • How much will I need to save for 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!

13 Steps to Retiring Foolishly

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.

Now get ahead of the game!
You know that investing is the best way to ensure your financial future, but if you're like so many people, you just don't know where to start. I'm happy to tell you that you can learn everything you need to know to be a successful investor in 13 easy steps — Less than 30 minutes a day for less than two weeks can change your life forever. It's not hard, it's not scary, and it doesn't require you to invest a dime more than you're comfortable with. And all 13 steps are free for you. Click here to start today!