By Anna D. Banks, GCDF

In the age of modern medicine and technology, you will live longer, remain active longer, and have a fuller life after you retire from your current career. This is precisely why planning for your retirement is so crucial. The first step is to evaluate your retirement needs. Figure out whether you have enough money to fund the retirement lifestyle you wish for, if you retire today. This can be a difficult question to answer as it involves so many variables. However, it is important if you wish to attempt any kind of planning for your retirement.

For coming up with a decent and workable pre-retirement calculation, begin by asking yourself some basic questions:

• What is the current market value of your total investment portfolio, including the pension plan and savings?
• How much do you actually invest every month?
• What would be the best rate of return that can be generated on your investments until retirement age?
• What will your investments be worth when you retire, based on these calculations?

The next step is to come up with a good calculation of how much you should have at retirement. Ask yourself:

• How long do you expect to live?
• How long should the money last?
• How much money would you need per month?
• How much income do you expect from the government?
• How much income do you expect from company pension plans?
• How much will your personal retirement portfolio give you, and for how long?
These calculations can be quite complex, however, many websites and calculators exist that will help you to find the answers. Using one of these retirement calculators or retirement planners enables you to evaluate your retirement needs quite quickly and simply.

The quality of life that you want to lead after your retirement depends on what you are willing to contribute to the fund today. Everyone wishes to retire with peace of mind, which is why planning for your retirement is so crucial. The kind of retirement you can look forward to depends on the planning and investments you are willing to attempt now.

Remember that Social Security will only be able to provide around 40% of the necessary income for a comfortable retirement. Company pension plans are also no longer dependable as once they were thought to be. Increasingly expensive health care costs combined with inflation and a much longer life expectancy will affect the total available retirement income. It is ever more essential to develop a plan and reach your retirement goals. If you haven’t started planning for the crucial retirement fund, begin now. Building enough financial stability during your retirement years will mean a proactive campaign of accumulating assets and savings.

As a general rule, experts say, that you will need 60%-80% of your current annual income to maintain a good retirement lifestyle. Your retirement funds need to be enough to support your lifestyle considering such factors as where you wish to live, activities or hobbies you may want to indulge in, and fulfilling long-awaited pursuits such as travel.

© 2007 Anna D. Banks, GCDF

Author’s Note:
Do you have any questions about career development or lifestyle changes for Baby Boomers, which you think others, like you, would want to know the answers? Please leave your comments on this blog or email your questions to me at