Envision your ideal retirement: Are you relaxing on a beach? Starting a new hobby? Or finally taking that trip to Paris?
A comfortable retirement looks different for everyone, but most investors share some common goals. We’ve broken those down into 4 key categories to help you start planning. Determining how you prioritize these goals is the first step in creating a road map to financial security in retirement.
Paying for food, clothing, and shelter must always come first. Health care expenses also fall under this category. Necessities are considered a “cash flow” goal, meaning they often require income from various sources, such as government benefits (e.g., Social Security) or IRAs. These routine expenses are typically less costly than your other expenditures but occur more frequently. Because this category allows for the lowest amount of investment risk, it may be helpful to overestimate your future spending in this area.
At some point in retirement, you’ll probably have a surprise expense, such as car repairs or a new roof. Having a rainy day fund can be reassuring when the unexpected pops up. Unlike necessities, this type of expense is an “asset reserve” goal, so you’ll want sufficient savings to cover these potential costs. Helpful tip: Maintain liquid investments that you can quickly turn into cash (or save cash itself) for these expenses.
Consider hobbies and activities you want to enjoy in retirement. Even if it’s just an occasional meal at your favorite diner or a quick getaway, you should factor these types of expenses into your plan. Like necessities, this is considered a cash flow goal, so prepare to set aside a few dollars from different income sources. Expensive vacations may be out of reach for now, but perhaps you can enjoy small luxuries as you save.
Someday you may want to transfer your wealth to heirs or charities. For many investors, this goal is the lowest priority. If you do decide to share your money, those savings (like other asset reserve goals) are best kept in liquid investments for easier transfer of assets. Remember: You can always contribute to your legacy in nonfinancial ways too—like with your time.
Retirement may not be far away, but there’s still time to make a solid plan. Saving for—and prioritizing—these goals can help put you on the road to financial security. After all, isn’t the ultimate goal of retirement to enjoy it?
All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.