How to Reach Your Retirement Goals

How to Reach Your Retirement Goals
  • Opening Intro -

    Few of us plan to work well into our 70s, preferring to retire at an age when both our health and our finances are in good shape.


If your health holds up, you may find that you’ll have 20 to 30 years of post-career time to live, with your income coming from funds you saved along the way. Here’s how to reach your retirement goals one step at a time.

Goal Setting

You can save for retirement, but how much money do you need to live? Where will you live? When do you want to retire?

Those questions must be answered before determining how much to save. Clearly, you’ll live on much less money when retired as your overhead will be lower, but quite easily you may need at least $40,000 per year to make it. Determine your goals and find a way to reach it. Work with your financial planner to create a clear and understandable path toward reaching those goals.

Save Early

The miracle of compounding interest means the money you save while you are young can mushroom to a much larger amount when you are old. Clearly, if you are in your 20s or 30s, setting aside some money now can make it easier to reach your goals later.

For many young workers, saving money for retirement is not a priority. Student loans, mortgages and college funds for children may be more important. However, if your funds are limited, you can still save a small amount and come away with a bundle. For instance, if you save $20 per week for 40 years and earn 10 percent interest annually, then you’ll have $506,300 saved according to the University of Illinois Extension service.

Retirement Savings Accounts

One of the easiest and most sensible ways to save money is through your employer. Many companies offer 401(k) retirement accounts, providing a place for you to invest your money. Some companies offer a match, for example, by providing a dollar for every six dollars you save up to a certain percentage of your salary.

You can also save money through an Individual Retirement Account. IRAs, like 401(k)s provide tax-deferred growth and can provide the funds you need for your retirement years. Choose a Roth IRA and you give up the deductible growth to take on a tax-free withdrawal.

Consider Your Living Options

Your current home may be right for your family, but what happens when the children grow up and move out? Do you need such a large living space?

Many elderly homeowners prefer to age in their own homes. Instead of moving away from familiar surroundings, they choose to remain in their homes and manage accordingly. Having foresight is important here especially for married people. You may need to pay for a live-in aide, food service and other assistance.

Other options include downsizing your home and remaining in the general area, moving to a retirement community or pulling up stakes and leaving the state. Consider the living options that are right for you.

Your Working Options

Perhaps sitting around or having 100 percent leisure time is not your cup of tea. After all, your creative mind is best challenged when you have something to do daily. That something to do can include work.

Even if your retirement funds are sufficient, you may find that working at least part-time early on is the best recipe for your long life. Start a new business, mentor owners of emerging enterprises, take on a low-stress part-time job. For other seniors, working past 65 will be mandatory especially if retirement funds are lacking.


Likely, you will employ a variety of options to help reach your retirement goals. Those goals may change along the way if a spouse dies or leaves, the needs of a grandchild come in or if your own health requirements weigh in. Work with a financial planner to develop a strategy that is right for you. Review your retirement accounts at least once quarterly and make annual appointments with your adviser to review and adjust your accounts as needed.


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Categories: Retirement

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".