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No matter your age, the concept of retirement brings with it dreams of replacing your working years with a new life stage. Whatever your vision is for retirement, everyone shares one similar goal: working to ensure you have the income you need to support the life you desire.

Of course, everyone’s financial life and goals are different, so the specific strategies you need to implement to create the retirement income you’ll need depends on your unique factors. Whether you have five years or thirty years before you retire, here are some essential questions to consider in your planning:

• How many years do you have left of receiving a regular paycheck?

• What retirement lifestyle do you imagine?

• How much risk should you take with your investments?

• When do you hope to stop working?

• What assets do you own?

Each generation has its own planning needs and timeline. As you look toward your own retirement, these key generational planning tips can help keep you on track toward the next chapter you desire.

GENERATION: BABY BOOMERS

Good news, Baby Boomers: you’re living longer than generations before you. That means you’ll have extra years to enjoy the lives you desire in retirement. It also means you’ll have more years to account for when ensuring you have the necessary income. Even if it’s just a few years before you retire, you can still take actions today to help you with your retirement income.

1. Pay Off Your Mortgage

Mortgages can be huge drains on your budget and available cash flow. While some retirees might choose to leverage their mortgage equity to create additional income, this strategy doesn’t work for everyone.(2) Some Baby Boomers might find that choosing to pay off their mortgages can help them create the extra monthly income they need to support their retirement goals.

“66% of Baby Boomers plan to or already are working past age 65 — or do not plan to retire at all — and many expect to work part time in retirement.”

2. Downsize Your Lifestyle

As our families grow, so do our homes and lifestyles. Once children move out on their own, though, our lifestyles often no longer reflect our true daily needs. Baby Boomers might find that reassessing the size of their houses and number of belongings can help them cut unnecessary expenses from their budgets. By downsizing your home, you can lessen costs, such as monthly mortgage payments, lawn care expenses, utility bills, and more. Start by identifying the lifestyle you’re truly comfortable with and the steps you can take to downsize and meet your financial goals.

3. Make Catch-Up Contributions

Baby Boomers can boost their retirement incomes by making catch-up contributions to their 401(k)s and IRAs. Investors can increase their annual 401(k) contributions by $6,000 for a total of up to $24,000. You can also increase your IRA payments by $1,000, up to $6,500. Not only will these increased payments help support your retirement lifestyle, but they also provide another benefit: additional yearly tax deductions, which can help you save even more money.(3)

GENERATION: GENERATION X

With fifty million people, Generation X is now becoming something they’ve seen their parents experience: a sandwich generation. They are often caring for both their own children and their aging parents, creating multiple financial obligations. With many Gen Xers unsure if they’ll retire comfortably, working to get ahead in their savings is an ongoing, daily effort. Fortunately, you still have time to maximize your planning.

1. Follow a Disciplined Financial Budget

Following a monthly budget can help ensure you maintain a healthy ratio of saving and spending. Unfortunately, many individuals in Generation X still struggle with cash flow. In fact, for 51 % of Gen Xers, cash management is a top financial concern.(5) While creating a financial plan for retirement is essential, it’s only one planning component. Make sure you’re following a realistic budget to support responsible cash management and your long-term goals.

“Only 8% of Generation X has enough saved to support them in retirement.”(4)

2. Pay Down Your Debt

We all know how carrying large debt can direly affect your financial wellness. Unfortunately, Generation X has looming debts that are affecting their ability to retire. In fact, 38 % of Gen Xers have more debt than savings.(6) When you have this financial equation, you nearly guarantee you will have to keep working through your retirement years. Take the time you need today to create a debt-payment strategy that will help you streamline your expenses and free up money to invest in savings.

3. Use Calculators to Project Costs

Calculating expenses is a regular aspect of adult life. Surprisingly, though, 58 % of Gen Xers have never used a calculator to project what retirement will cost them.(7) Not only do you need to calculate what your normal living expenses will be, you also need to address what health care might cost you. And many of these projections can be tricky to do without experienced professionals guiding you. So, be sure to start calculating what retirement will cost you. It’s the only way you will be able to create a realistic retirement-income strategy.

GENERATION: MILLENNIALS

When it comes to the economy and confidence in their ability to retire, Millennials aren’t feeling too confident about their futures. Of course, compared to the previous two generations, Millennials also have the most years left to catch up with their retirement plans. With nearly eighty million people in this demographic, getting ahead today can have a big impact on the future of the American economy.

1. Consider Refinancing Private College Loan Debt

Millennials carry an average college debt of $41,286, which is much higher than the nation’s overall average of $29,400.9 As a result, one way Millennials can start saving money today is by refinancing their college debt. This strategy can be helpful if you’re looking to lower the monthly interest rate you pay.(10) By locking in a lowered rate, you can decrease your monthly payments and use that extra money to invest in your retirement savings accounts. Of course, always check with a professional to determine if this option is the right financial strategy for your goals.

2. Take Advantage of Your Employer-Matching Retirement Benefits

Believe it or not, 15 % of Millennials include winning the lottery as part of their retirement income strategy, and only 29 % actually have a retirement plan.(9) If you work for an employer that offers an employer-match retirement program, be sure you are taking full advantage of your options. Just think, if your employer does a 100 % match, you can automatically double your money. By not doing so, you’re literally throwing free money out the window.

“56% of Millennials believe they won’t be able to retire when they want to.”(8)

3. Embrace – But Don’t Take for Granted – That Time Is on Your Side

As the youngest working generation, you do have time on your side, and you can get ahead in your retirement savings in ways previous generations can’t. However, the decades you have until retiring can also mean you potentially wait until the future to plan, and as a result, you can miss key opportunities. So, embrace the time you have to let compounding rates work for your financial goals. Details like starting to invest in your twenties over your thirties can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement money. And not letting time slip away can make the difference in your ability to retire your way.

No matter your age or life stage, being able to retire when and how you want requires diligent planning now. If you want to have a better understanding of your financial situation or to make sure you are prepared for retirement, give our Denver office a call at 303-741-9772 or visit our website at www.DechtmanWealth.com to see how we can help. By taking the steps you need today to get ahead tomorrow, you’ll help ensure you have the time and money you need to enjoy life in the ways you want—and comfortably experience your retirement.

(1)https://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/retirement-survey-of-workers/tcrs2016_sr_perspectives_on_retirement_baby_boomers_genx_millennials.pdf
(2)http://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/07/mortgages_in_retirement.asp
(3)http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/slideshows/10-ways-to-get-ready-for-retirement-after-age-50
(4)http://www.irionline.org/resources/resources-detail-view/don’t-you-(forget-about-means)-third-biennial-study-on-the-retirement-readiness-of-generation-x
(5)https://ffinesse.app.box.com/v/2016GenerationalResearchReport
(6)http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-10/millennials-think-they-have-it-bad-generation-x-has-it-worse
(7)https://www.myirionline.org/docs/default-source/research/don-39-t-you-(forget-about-means)-third-biennial-study-on-the-retirement-readiness-of-generation-x.pdf?sfvrsn=2
(8)http://www.irionline.org/resources/resources-detail-view/will-millennials-ever-be-able-to-retire-
(9)http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-07/majority-of-millennials-have-no-idea-when-student-loans-will-be-paid-off
(10)http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/011916/student-loan-refinancing-pros-and-cons.asp

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