Many people dream about retirement and look forward to when they can walk out of work at the end of the day and never go back. Unfortunately, however, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare if they have failed to have a solid financial retirement plan to make it work. Which would you rather do: spend your golden years how you want to, or be forced to continue to work just to put food on the table? It's not a difficult choice, but unless you carefully prepare for your retirement years, it will never come true.
In order to someday stop going to work everyday, you need to figure out how much it will cost you to live comfortably when you reach retirement age. For some people who wish to retire in their early 50s, they need to start the planning process as soon as they begin working or as soon as they get married.
Don't expect to be able to live too comfortably on just your social security earnings alone. Financial experts agree that you need to supplement your retirement income with pensions, savings, and investments.
The first step should be to sit down with a Certified Financial Planner who can help you put together a retirement planning worksheet to help you meet your goals for the future. They can help you determine how much you need to save and invest and for how long. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that retirement seems like a lifetime away, because before you know it, it will be knocking on your front door. And if you have failed to plan for your retirement, your golden years of fun in the sun will never materialize.
The sooner you start to plan and save for your retirement years, the better off you will be. You will have a sense of peace knowing that you have done everything you possibly can to make your retirement as comfortable as possible.
See also: Mutual Funds, Saving Money, and Lower Your Taxes