Overviews of Retirement Planning and Basic Guides

Retire_overviewPlanning for retirement covers more than just financial planning. Planning for retirement is an activity that you and your spouse or partner do together. Your financial planning for retirement is driven by your retirement goals. Here are the basic steps involved.

The first step is self-assessment. The task is to focus on what your needs and desires are. You'll use the results of your self-assessment to set the goals that you want to achieve. These questions may provide a place to start.

  • Do I (we) want to work after retirement? If so, what would I (we) like to do and what are my (our) options?
  • What kind of lifestyle do I (we) want?
  • Do I (we) want to volunteer?
  • Do I (we) want to travel?
  • Do I (we) have any particular activities in mind?
  • Do I (we) have any hobbies I (we) want to pursue?
  • Do I (we) need any additional skills or knowledge to do what I (we) want?
  • Where do I (we) want to live?

Gather information. Once you've completed your self-assessment, the next step is to gather any information you might need in order to set your goals.

Set goals. Next comes setting goals so that you'll be prepared when you retire. For each goal, write a goal statement that identifies who will do what by when. Write down all the actions that are needed to reach the goal. For each action, also list who will do what by when. Being very specific will help you to accomplish the goals.

The last step is to regularly review and update your plans. It's not unusual for goals and plans to change. Even after you've retired, a regular review and reassessment can be fruitful.

The bottom line: Only you know what you want out of your retirement so only you can plan for it.

The following tutorials and articles provide more details on these basic steps.

Planning Tutorials

Among the thousands of Web pages devoted to the topic of retirement, few offer sequential tutorials that introduce you to the many basics of retirement planning. These sites offer a good place to begin. (For more tutorials that primarily address money issues, see our section Financial Planning and Saving for Retirement.)

The Pre-Retirement Planning Guide from the New York State Governor's Office of Employee Relations. This interactive tutorial guide hits a homerun in its comprehensiveness. The material starts with self-assessment and goal-setting for your total retirement (not just financial goals.)

Smart About Money's Retirement Plan Course from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). This course will help you work through various decisions related to retirement planning and steps to prepare for retirement.

Article Archives

The following sites offer numerous articles on various aspects of retirement planning. Generally the articles are grouped by topic. Although presented in some instances as retirement planning "guides," the sites don't really offer tutorials, but with judicious selection you can read more deeply about issues introduced in the tutorials in the previous section or create your own course of study.

The USA.gov site has many links to government sites of interest to retirees. Its "Retirement" section in particular has links pertinent to retirement planning.

Social Security and Retirement Planning from Nolo.com, a legal self-help site, presents varied articles on such aspects of retirement as Social Security, retirement plans, Medicare and related issues, and estate planning. Ads and sponsored links are easily identifiable.

Ultimate Retirement Guide is a selection of articles from CNN/Money." CNN/Money has a wide variety of articles pertinent to retirement, although, in our judgment, you may have to search further for some.

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