Back to School – Retirement Planning 101

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Back to school. Just ask most parents. But as the summer comes to an end and kids are resuming their studies maybe its time for the parents to follow their lead and learn more about retirement planning.

Unfortunately, the thought of this can intimidate people, so the easiest solution is to put it off. That can be a big mistake, as there can be real life consequences in doing so. Too often I hear people say that they waited too late to develop a retirement plan, or that the process of retirement planning is too complicated. I am sure that is not the advice you would give your kids when they are faced with a tough subject in school. It is never too late to start planning and educating yourself in order to take control of your retirement.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of Retirement planning is- in a financial context, refers to the allocation of finances for retirement. The goal of retirement planning is to achieve financial independence, so that the need to be gainfully employed is optional rather than a necessity.

So what should the money in your retirement plan look like? Consider these three crucial areas:

1) Investments: Your money needs to continue to grow in order to fund what could be a 30-year retirement. Investments come in all shapes and sizes; stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, real estate and other alternative investments such as gold or other commodities. The key when structuring your investments for retirement is to ensure your investing based on your risk tolerance. Some of these investment vehicles come with more risk than others. The older you get, the less your money should be exposed to risk.

2) Savings: You will always want to keep a little cash on hand and easily accessible throughout your retirement years. This could be through a savings or money market account or CDs from your bank. Liquid savings can supplement your income in the earlier years in retirement, allowing your other investments to continue to grow. And in the event an unexpected circumstance arises when retired, it’s always better to pay with cash from your savings rather than with credit, or worse, be forced to pull from other investments, which can sometimes have fees or penalties for early withdraws.

3) Insurance: Insurance can provide two main benefits in retirement. Insurance products such as fixed annuities can be used to turn your lump sum savings into a reliable income stream in retirement (with many products guaranteeing an income stream for life). The other important function of insurance is it works to protect the money you do have saved from the high-costs associated with injury, sickness or death. Long-term care insurance can pay medical bills in retirement, protecting your savings from the cost of extended health care. And life insurance, which is passed to heirs tax-free, can ensure your family and loved ones aren’t left with having to pay any of your final expenses out of pocket.

When reviewing your retirement plan, be sure you have your retirement dollars designed to grow, protect and secure your desired retirement lifestyle.

This information is for educational purposes and should not be considered specific financial, tax or legal advice. Always consult with a qualified advisor regarding your individual circumstances. Investment Advisory Services offered through Global Financial Private Capital, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

Brad Zucker, RFC® is the president of Safe Money Advisors, Inc., a Las Vegas-based independent financial advisory firm. He blogs on personal finance every Monday for the RJ. For more information visit or connect with him via Facebook andLinkedIn.