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How to Start Planning for a Happy Retirement

It can be difficult to imagine what life will be like when you retire, especially if your retirement date is decades from now. If your retirement seems like light-years away, do you really need to think about it now? The short answer is: yes! It's never too early to start saving and planning for your financial future. 

You don't have to know every single detail to try to prepare for a comfortable, secure — and fun — retirement. Here are a few simple steps you can take to get started today: 

Set a goal

Research shows that 36% of Americans lose sleep over financial concerns, which could include saving enough for retirement. It doesn't have to be this way. By trying to set a realistic retirement goal and developing a plan, you could achieve peace of mind now and in the future. 

Start by finding out how much you'll need to maintain your desired retirement lifestyle. One common rule is that retirees need up to 80% of their current annual income to retire comfortably. 

Wondering how much you need to save for retirement? Estimate your retirement needs using a retirement calculator. 

Harness the power of compound interest

The sooner you can start saving for retirement, the better. When you start early, your retirement fund will have more time to grow through the power of compound interest. 

One way to think about compound interest is like a snowball rolling down a hill. As it rolls, the snowball will pick up more snow and get bigger and bigger. The same idea applies to your retirement fund. By saving early and often, you give your savings snowball a longer “hill" to roll down and a greater chance to accumulate interest. Try using an investment calculator to get an idea of the power of compound interest in action. 

Make your future a priority

It can be easy to let other savings goals and expenses take priority over your retirement, especially when it feels so far away. But in order to try to have a secure and comfortable retirement, it's best to add to your fund consistently. This may mean putting retirement ahead of competing savings goals, like your child's college fund. Remember, there are loans and scholarships for college, but not for retirement. 

As soon as you have a strong financial foundation and three to six months of emergency fund in place, it's a good idea to make saving for retirement your next goal. If your employer offers a 401(k) retirement plan with a match program, try to contribute enough to receive the full amount offered. Another option to help you work towards your retirement goals is a traditional or Roth IRA. It's okay if you need to start with a small amount like $25 or $50 per month — you can gradually increase your contributions whenever possible. The most important thing is that you get started!

Get help on the road to retirement

At Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU), we want to help you reach your retirement goals so you can live the life you want to live well into the future. When you're ready to start planning for retirement, we're here to help you every step of the way. 

The experienced CFS* Financial Advisors on WPCU's Retirement Solutions team, available through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS"), can help you develop a plan that may help put you on the path to success. Contact us today ​​to set up a complimentary, no-obligation appointment. 

*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS"), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. WPCU has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. For specific tax advice please consult a qualified tax professional.

Financial Advisors are registered to conduct securities business and licensed to conduct insurance business in limited states. Response to, or contact with, residents of other states will be made only upon compliance with applicable licensing and registration requirements. The information in this website is for U.S. residents only and does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to purchase brokerage services to persons outside of the United States.