I recently received a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle as a gift that features a lovely Colorado mountain trail disappearing into the blue sky horizon. The puzzle itself instantly rekindled memories of childhood with my father. Because he had a lifelong passion for puzzles, I grew up in a house where scattered jigsaw pieces would cover the dining room table like a cardboard construction zone. While my father always loved the process of assembling the pieces, I’ve long been the type to enjoy just admiring the picture on the box. The rest always seemed a little too messy to me.
The way I feel about puzzles is how many people consider retirement planning. Their ideal picture of retirement would look wonderful on a puzzle box, but the process of piecing it together seems overwhelming. Of course, one can keep visualizing, but eventually it’s necessary to dump out all the pieces and make them fit together.
If you are considering taking this important step, you have nothing to fear. Here are six key pieces to put at the top of your retirement planning pile that can help you enjoy the kind of financial future you envision.
Piece No. 1: Put your plan in writing
Perhaps the most important piece is your plan. After all, when you put your plan in writing, you have a tangible record of the path ahead. According to a recent survey, 73% of financial professionals say providing written plans is very important in building trust with their clients, and two out of three consumers find such written plans effective in accounting for their risk preferences, their investment plan and how to fund financial goals.
From monitoring financial benchmarks to managing through market declines, a written plan is a record of commitment that will help keep you on track and grounded through highs and lows.
Piece No. 2: Know your biological age
The good news is you may be younger than you think. The bad news is you may be younger than you think. A growing body of evidence suggests that an individual’s actual age can be measured more accurately using telomeres, which are protective caps at both ends of your chromosomes. Your biological age can diverge by as much as 10-20 years from your chronological age, which can affect your retirement planning.
Commercial tests for determining one’s biological age measure telomeres using a blood a sample that is compared with samples from other members of the same age group. However, there are also numerous calculators and questionnaires available online that can provide biological age estimates based on several factors, including diet and lifestyle.
Longer life expectancies are one of the key …….