Different Ways to Plan Ahead for Retirement

Anyone who regularly visits here can tell that I’m a fan of thinking ahead in terms of future financial needs.  My own driving financial motivation keeps me thinking about the future even as I simultaneously enjoy and live in the present.

Clearly, retirement planning is important.  Along those lines, I like to keep me eyes and mind open for different ideas on how to make good decisions in terms of saving for the future. Sometimes means taking in new or less frequently discussed ideas, but it also might mean reinforcing existing views with some repetition.

A recent article from US News provided a mix of both, as it shared ways to be more individually reliant in terms of retirement planning.  Good, solid tips that I think we should keep in mind as we think toward our future.  Below I’ll state the tips (paraphrased), along with my viewpoint on each.

  1. Downsize before immediately necessary.  I agree totally. It’s not like it’s any mystery that we’ll need money in the future, so why spend without regard for future savings? We’ll need to save and invest now to make retirement feasible and decent in the future.  Why live with a big hat no cattle lifestyle? Differentiate wants and needs, and be true to those current and future needs.
  2. Say No.  This could apply to many people who want your resources, but it’s often hard for many of us to say no to kids.  As a parent of younger kids, it’s a concept that I intellectually get but have a hard time with sometimes.  However, when you’re old and they’re young adults, you’ll have far less available years to work. They won’t.  At some point we need to avoid martyrdom, and take care of our basic needs for retirement first.
  3. Delay Social Security.  Admittedly, I don’t think of this much since I’m far off from that time period. Additionally, I am conditioning myself not to count on social security in the future.  However, it’s worth thinking about anyway. For those closer to that age, it’s definitely worth considering, as it can be quite costly to retire too soon.
  4. Invest in Wellness.  This is one I totally agree with.  Also, it’s one that I need to really force myself to continually focus on and would like to do a better job with.  Really, I do think that when one looks at the role of money in life, there is a connection with health (and relationships).  Without health, life can break down.  It’s imperative to think about the connection of health and money, and not be afraid to invest some time and money into staying healthy and fit.
  5. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.  By working hard and making smart, disciplined decisions, we can achieve great things. That being said, not everything always follows our plans, despite our best intentions and actions. Things can and do happen.  If a big unexpected expense happens, we want to be ready to handle it. 

One more I’d like to add is the idea that we should avoid procrastination. Tomorrow comes quicker than we often realize, so rather than start taking steps “someday”, we might as well do it now.

What do You Think?

How many of these 5 do you actively focus on?

Can you think of any other tips for self-reliance in retirement planning?


  1. says

    I’m so, so far away from retirement that these seem like a far off dream for me. Eventually I’ll get there, but at this point in my life all I do is hope for the best an plan for the worst.

  2. says

    I like all these, but especially invest in wellness. Saving a lot of money for retirement won’t be nearly as rewarding if one is too unfit to have fun with it! Some health issues are of course unavoidable, but simply staying in shape, eating right, etc. I consider investments in a high quality of life in my ‘doddering years.’

  3. says

    I am a long way from retirement, but we have been focusing on ‘investing in wellness’ and ‘hope for the best, plan for the worst’ in our lives. Both these things are important presently so that as we grow older we can alleviate matters of stress, especially health and healthcare cost related ones.

    • Squirrelers says

      Sherrian – those are good things to do. I’ve been reading FGSW on the investing in wellness aspect :)

  4. says

    I am steeling myself to be able to say no about paying for college for my kids. I just don’t see a way that I can do it without working until 75, which I refuse to do. I like the idea of voluntary downsizing – great tips.

    • Squirrelers says

      John – I think voluntary downsizing is an option for many people. Maybe it should be called “rightsizing”!

  5. says

    After reading this I will tell my 2 year old and 1 year old NOOOOO you can’t have a lollipop. All jokes aside I used to go to the store and spend 25 cents a pop. A week later I said screw this I am buying a bag to save some money.

  6. says

    You hit the nail on the head with avoiding procrastination. It could easily be placed 1st, arguably, as the one thing holding anyone back.

    I’ve read a few things on delaying Social Security. It’s surprising how much the payments increase by waiting a few years.

    • Squirrelers says

      JP – I know what you mean about Social Security. Not that many younger people should be planning on it being there….seems safer to hope for the best and plan for the worst :)

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