Ask a random 10 people who recently retired, say in the last 10 years, and see what the response is to this very question.
What would you do differently to prepare for retirement?
Chances are, you’d get varying answers, particularly when you consider that some who plan for retirement aren’t always exactly where they want or more importantly need to be when it comes to retiring.
The real issue stems from planning, or a lack of it.
Planning simply means you’ve not only be preparing for retirement by saving in a variety of ways but also talking to financial experts on how your money is going to work for you or setting up goals and the aforementioned plan, rather than just haphazardly putting money aside from a paycheck or buying into a 401K without much knowledge about exactly if it is enough or how it’s going to be invested otherwise.
Planning also should start when you’re young, such as your early to mid 20s if you’re in a position to do so. For those of us starting our retirement plan in our 40s, we’ve got a lot of work and saving left to do, so the majority of people who already are in their formidable golden years will tell you that they should have taken advantage of company match 401Ks or some sort of savings plan their company provided. By not doing so, or opting to do so later in life, has set them back years and tacked on those same years to their working status. Rather than retiring at 62, maybe they’ll find themselves forced to work another three to five.
When you think about your current status as far as retirement planning, you want to think big picture as well when it comes to those larger bills. That includes a large sum of credit card debt or your mortgage, as well as car payments. The goal should be as you approach retirement is to have these items and more paid off as soon as possible. If you have to prioritize, then start with the mortgage, which likely is the highest payment amount you have.
Finally, you want to make sure you don’t save for retirement and go cheap with your purchases. You need to understand that a purchase should be one that has some durability to it, such as that vehicle or instance. Make sure your that purchase is one with a propensity to last well into and during retirement.
Being a “success” in retirement centers on what your original goals are, and you can’t compare yourself or your situation to someone else, but rooted in all smart retirement success stories will always be planning correctly.