One thing I love is to make specific goals – smaller resolutions. Do I stick to them? You bet I do! It’s not easy, but I’m an all or nothing person. When my mind is set, I want to soar. There are different parts of my life, and when it comes to finances, that’s where I really want to make improvements! I love to make small resolutions – but with the big picture fully in focus. I’m focusing on small goals more, but the kinds of small goals that make major impacts down the line! I like to call it the long game, but it’s not a game. It’s just.. life. And it’s all about striking that balance between having fun in the here and now, but planning for fun and security later in life.
This year I resolve, as I always do, to eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, connect better with my loved ones, AND, for the drumroll – manage my finances with Personal Capital – and especially with their Retirement Planner tool! They have a sophisticated and realistic Retirement Planning Calculator that is FREE when you join Personal Capital. We have so much to talk about, like how this tool helps you know where you stand with your goals. This is a place to build, manage, and forecast your retirement plan – all in one convenient, intuitive location!
Five Essential Retirement Planning Tips You’ll Need:
1 – Personal Capital Retirement Planner.
Cassidy and I have a unique situation in that he has a steady longterm office job – with benefits and a 401K – and I’m self-employed. My work IS steady, and has its own patterns and rhythms, but I am freelance and don’t have a paycheck schedule or benefits and retirement planning built right into my job. I have to get creative in my saving and planning, since it all comes from me. We are lucky to have multiple income sources but a lot of that goes into life now – with parenting and traveling and monthly bills. And a lot of saving and planning goes into the kids.
Sometimes it’s hard to focus and plan, because living for the now is important, but also because it seems so far away that maybe it’s not on our minds yet. And now is exactly when it SHOULD be on our minds – while the kids are young and we’re both working so hard to build a better future. I love my Personal Capital Retirement Planner! Now let’s go through what it can do!
Personal Capital is a digital wealth manager and the tools in the dashboard are free to use! You can use the tools to get a 360-degree view of your money, set up and track your budget, keep an eye on your investments, and for sophisticated retirement planning. You can link up your financial institutions so the Personal Capital Dashboard is using actual financial data to help you prepare for retirement. And you input an ideal target retirement date, and also fill in info about salary, savings, marriage, kids, etc. You can be set up in minutes, and add/edit scenarios.
For example, I put in our target retirement ages, linked our bank accounts and savings information, and filled out the profile as much as I could. Then the tool gives you a success rate for your plan! That’s such fun. For example, if I put my retirement age as 65, I have a 79% success rate. If I put my retirement age at 70, it jumps to 83%. If I put it at 75, it’s at 99%! Now you have to remember that I don’t have a “normal” career, and will do photography and writing as long as I’m physically able. My grandfather lived to age 100 and his primary work was being an artist.
And I love that you can change, not only your retirement age, but also your financial details. They will change throughout life, and so will your dreams and circumstances. So why not use a tool that is ready to grow with you? You can also link your credit cards, to monitor spending and manage debt. And if you’re planning for college, buying a new home, getting married, adopting a child, etc., you can add events to the Retirement Planner, and see their impact on your plan.
And lastly, the Retirement Planner automatically calculates your monthly income and projected Social Security distributions – you can easily include/add additional sources of income, such as rental income, pensions, inheritances, and more. If I just take a snapshot of the last five years of my life, there have been so many financial surprises – mostly good ones. That’s why it’s been awesome to have Personal Capital help with my retirement planning. So many dreams to unfold.
Four More Essential Retirement Planning Tips:
2 – Plan for inflation:
Even though we can’t predict what will happen in the future, assume prices will go up when planning for retirement, and also plan for it.
3 – Plan with your spouse about retirement, and create a budget together:
It’s important to be open and honest about financial things, because you want to be on the same page. Just as you’d discuss having kids, buying new cars or houses, traveling, etc., talk through financial matters as well. And the best way to plan together is to create a budget together, and learn to stick to it NOW, so you’re ready to do so more than ever later.
4 – Do what you can NOW, while you can do what you can now:
I know that’s a mouthful, but it’s basically about planning for what’s ahead, while still having fun now. Focus on your physical health, and be and stay active. Travel now, because it’s easier and cheaper when you’re mobile. Keep smart spending habits while away, like you do at home. And pay off your mortgage now, so you can eliminate a significant expense.
5 – Work for longer:
Sometimes it pays off to work a few more years than what you had planned. This will add cushion to your retirement planning in the long run.