Are you retirement ready? What you need to consider

The idea of retirement is both exciting and daunting. After leaving the workforce, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue dreams that you have envisioned for your retirement. But you’ll need to have the financial wherewithal to fund those dreams and cover your day-to-day living expenses.

It is clear from everything we read in the news that many Americans likely aren’t saving enough. While many people might rely on Social Security to help cover their costs during retirement, it may not be enough and those who want to live a full life in their later years should focus now on saving more.

This fact is underscored by a LinkedIn Poll that Prudential Retirement began on Sept. 9 about Americans’ perceptions of workplace retirement plans. There were more than 300,000 impressions and more than 1,000 individuals voted. Of those voters, more than 50 percent were “very interested” in a guaranteed retirement income feature. Moreover, 23 percent were “somewhat interested.”

Whether you’re in your 20s or your 50s, retirement should be on your mind. Regardless of your age, now is the time to start planning so that you can make sure you are able to save enough to live the retirement you envision. Spend some time considering these points and consult with a financial advisor who can help you lay out a plan to maximize your savings. Some options to consider include:

* Workplace retirement opportunities. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a workplace retirement plan, take advantage of it – they are one of the best ways to save for retirement. Market volatility will always impact the stock market. However, in an effort to make workplace retirement plans more user-friendly and better help participants plan for a more secure retirement, Prudential Retirement is leading a push to introduce features into defined contribution plans that provide guaranteed retirement income. You can learn more at www.prudential.com.

* Diversification: Commonly known as, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” diversification is simply choosing a variety of investments that react differently to market conditions. Choosing a variety of them can help you manage risk since positive performance in one option may help offset poor performance in another option. Diversification should be a central theme of your retirement funding plan. However, keep in mind that application of asset allocation and diversification concepts does not assure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market. It is possible to lose money by investing in securities. If you feel unsure of what you should be doing, what your options are or need help understanding just what you need for retirement, a financial advisor can help you lay out a more clearly defined path toward your goals.

* Seek protection. “Expect the unexpected” is a classic adage that has endured for good reason. The plans you make might not follow the path your life actually takes, so it’s a good idea to protect yourself in case the unexpected should happen. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure that you have an adequate amount of insurance to protect your income and your assets. In addition to a smart retirement planning strategy, life, health, disability and long-term care insurance can help protect both you and your loved ones.

* Budget and cut back on excessive spending. While we all want to live a full life every day, the decisions you make now could have a negative or positive impact on your future – it all comes down to the choices you make. Of course there are unavoidable costs that come along with day-to-day living, but the more discretionary spending you do now, the more money you’ll have later. Think about cutting back on extravagances and extras – without eliminating them completely – in a way that will allow you to invest more money in your future retirement.

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