The first step in your financial journey is figuring out what you want and why. Retirement is a number, not a particular age. Once you set a goal or identify a lifestyle you would like to live, work backwards to determine how to get there.

Define Your Retirement Number:

“If I retired today, how much money would I need annually to live my ideal lifestyle?” Consider your recurring expenses and then incorporate other big ticket items such as traveling or real estate purchases.

Set a realistic target. Is it $100,000 after taxes per year? $200,000? 

The annual income you need/desire in retirement directly impacts the amount of money you will need to have saved. 


Assess Your Current Financial Situation:

Once you think you have a number in mind that you would be comfortable living off, evaluate your current financial situation. Can you create an income stream based on the assets you currently own? 

Be honest with yourself on the gap between where you are currently and where you want to go. Put all of the mistakes and feelings of regret behind you. It’s ok, we learned, and now we are focused on moving forward.

Remember, money is a tool to help us get what we want, so we need to ask ourselves, ‘What am I building?’ We need clarity. If your finances are chaotic, establish a plan to bring order, as chaotic finances impact other aspects of your life.


Understand Your Accounts:

Maybe you aren’t quite sure what you have and what the implications are when you go to take money out of them. Each account has their own story and purpose. Recognize the emotional aspects tied to inheritances, gains, and losses. Knowing what you have and when that money comes into play is paramount for retirement planning.

I asked a guy in his early 50’s if he had thought about retirement and what his plan was and he replied, “I have a mutual fund somewhere, I don’t know..”


Create Your Own “Freedom Fund”:

When you have something in mind that you are saving for, you will get more excited. Call it your “freedom fund” if you have to, as the goal for most of us is achieving financial freedom. Incorporate a habit of saving money, even if it’s a small number. I don’t care how much income you make. If you never develop the habit of saving money, you won’t do it at any income level. Start with putting away 10 – 20% of your income consistently. For those interested in the FIRE Movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early), you may need to put away 50 – 75% of your income in order to retire in your 30’s or 40’s. 


Embrace Consistency:

How can you accumulate wealth? By consistently investing in income producing assets.

Saving money is like going to the gym; results won’t appear immediately. 

Whether you’re starting in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s, stay committed. Progress will fuel inspiration and energy, reinforcing the belief that your efforts are paying off.


Your journey to retirement begins when you embrace it. Define your goals, assess your current financial situation, and develop a strategic plan that sets you in the desired direction. Embrace consistency in saving and investing, and understand this is not an overnight process. It’s never too late to start making progress towards the life you ultimately want to live. Ever wonder how your approach to retirement planning stacks up against your peers? Schedule a free consultation today!

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Disclosure: This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

  • All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
  • All investing includes risks, including fluctuating prices and loss of principal.