There are a few things you should keep in mind when planning for your retirement. First of all, you probably shouldn't hold your breath when it comes to social security being able to cover even a small portion of your retirement if the service even exists in any form of its former self by the time you are facing retirement.
The second thing you need to keep in mind is that your needs upon retirement depend greatly on how you live your life now and how you plan to live once you retire.
There are many who live very conservatively now in an effort to save up their money for retirement and really live it up at that point. The problem is that they are basing their retirement living on their current lifestyle, which is not a good comparison.
The problem is that the vast majority of Americans are earning just enough money through their jobs in order to make ends meet. The idea of finding any money to sock away for retirement for most Americans is difficult at best and absolutely impossible in some situations.
The first step when it comes to successful financial retirement planning is to map out how much money you are going to need in order to maintain your current lifestyle upon retirement and go from there.
Most estimates are that you will need to bring home on average 75% of your current take home salary in order to maintain your current lifestyle. The understanding is that you will eliminate many monthly expenses by no longer working however some find that this simply isn't enough so you should be careful when relying on this figure.
You should also plan for inflation when planning your retirement as well. It will take more money in the future in order to have the same standard of living. You should also consider that our expectations tend to increase over time and you need to be able to live within the limits of your budget when the time comes.
It will be difficult to take out additional funds once you've reached retirement age. For this reason it is in your best interest to plan ahead and plan carefully. The more modestly you live today in an effort to invest more money for your retirement the better chances you will have to enjoy a better lifestyle upon retirement.
You should also be careful that you do not sacrifice the moment in search of a better retirement. You need to be able to take vacations, save money for the things you want and need, in addition to covering the necessities of today. We aren't guaranteed that we will be here for retirement though that is hardly a reason not to invest and save for that day.
However, we should never sacrifice the moment and the childhood of our children for the sake of an eventual retirement. As long as you are making significant progress you are doing better than a large section of the population and you can opportunities later to invest greater amounts of money towards you retirement.
The problem is that most people do not begin growing concerned over their retirement picture until it is too late to make significant progress. Begin early making plans for your financial retirement in order to insure the greatest possible success.
Pay off your major debts such as student loans, home loans, doctors' bills, car notes, and credit cards whenever possible. These are constant drains on your income that you do not need once you've limited or 'fixed' your income.
In addition to your 401 (k) or IRA funds you can start your own investment account by having the bank automatically draft a portion of your check each pay period.
You can also 'pay yourself' an extra bonus by depositing extra funds anytime you get extra money like a bonus check at work or payment for services outside of work. Take every opportunity you have to boost your retirement account.