Retirement planning involves an analysis of the various choices you can make today to help provide for your financial future. To make appropriate choices, you may need to predict--as well as you can--your future economic circumstances. You’ll also need to establish your post-retirement goals. When you’ve determined how much of an income stream you may require in the future, you’ll be in a better position to make wiser choices now about income, saving, investments, and employer-sponsored or other retirement plans.
Of course, you need to tailor your retirement planning to your own unique circumstances--planning methods may be different for employees and executives than for business owners. And no matter who you are, you’ll probably want to gain some familiarity with the Social Security system, and with post-retirement health care insurance coverage, including Medicare and long-term care (LTC) insurance. For some people, retirement may be an eagerly anticipated event, an opportunity to enjoy so many things that working may have precluded--travel, hobbies, and more family time. For other people, even the word "retirement" may conjure up feelings of fear or dread, particularly for those employees who work without the benefit of pension or other retirement plans. And newspaper stories predicting the collapse of the Social Security system can certainly compound anxiety. Whether you are financially comfortable or are of limited means, however, retirement planning is possible and can help you take control of your own future.