Four Basic Steps for a Successful Retirement

We know that most plan participants are not financial experts, and that can make planning for retirement difficult.

Fortunately, there are some basic steps that you can follow to work toward a successful retirement.

Learn the basics of saving and investing

Understand the basic types of investment products, like stocks, bonds, and money market accounts. Each of these has its own risks and rewards, and plan participants should know what those are, and how they can fit together in an investment portfolio. Plan participants should have a firm grasp on what their retirement plan offers and how they can benefit from that. Although it is always important to be an educated investor, most retirement plans today offer pre-built strategies, such as target date funds and allocation models, to help take some of the guesswork and stress out of creating a long-term investment portfolio.

Avoid common mistakes

Not diversifying, not rebalancing asset allocations, becoming too emotional, attempting to “bet” or “time” the market, and not having a savings plan: these are all common errors that you might make. An ideal way to help avoid these mistakes is by focusing the majority of your time and energy on the last item on that list, a savings plan. Having a sound savings strategy has consistently been shown to be one of the most impactful factors in achieving a successful retirement.

Focus on three critical components of an investment plan

While some things, like bull and bear markets, are beyond your control, there are three things you do control: when to start saving, how much to save, and when to retire. Starting sooner and saving more have much more to do with a successful retirement than the actual returns your investments make. Set a savings goal, which is typically recommended to be 12-15% for most Americans, as well as a plan on how to get there. Deciding when to retire is crucial, as well. Delaying retirement means more time for investments to potentially grow and larger monthly benefits from Social Security; both of which help to protect against our biggest risk in retirement: longevity.

Monitor the plan, and adjust as necessary

A strong savings plan should evolve as your circumstances change. Changes in income, new family members, financial windfalls or setbacks, or any other major event in your life should trigger a financial review to make sure you’re still on track for retirement.  One of the best ways to determine whether you are on track for retirement is to speak with a financial professional or use a retirement income calculator (check out a few of our favorites here).

This material was created to provide accurate and reliable information on the subjects covered but should not be regarded as a complete analysis of these subjects. It is not intended to provide specific legal, tax or other professional advice. The services of an appropriate professional should be sought regarding your individual situation.
Representatives offer products and services using the following business names: Summit Group of Virginia LLP – insurance and financial services | Ameritas Investment Company, LLC (AIC), Member FINRA/SIPC – securities and investments | Ameritas Advisory Services (AAS) – investment advisory services. AIC and AAS are not affiliated with Summit Group of Virginia LLP. Products and services are limited to residents of states where the representatives are registered. This is not an offer of securities in any jurisdiction, nor is it specifically directed to a resident of any jurisdiction. As with any security, request a prospectus from your representative. Read it carefully before you invest or send money. A representative will contact you to provide requested information. Representatives of AIC and AAS do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation.

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