(MoneyWatch) For the last four months, I've been writing a series of posts that help you plan for a healthy, secure and happy retirement. Planning for a period of your life that can last 20, 30 or even 40 years is a complex and significant task.
To help you manage your retirement planning efforts, over the last 16 weeks I've written weekly posts that describe retirement planning steps you can take each week. Each post contains links to additional articles for further reading, so you can control how much detail you want to read.
You don't need to finish in 16 weeks; you can pace yourself to take the time you need and fit the steps into your schedule. When you're ready for each week's steps, the posts will still be there. And you don't need to follow the weeks in order; you have the flexibility to pick and choose the topics that are most relevant for you.
In effect, the entire series is a free, online retirement planning book, written by an actuary with 35+ years of experience working with retirement plans. I don't sell insurance or investments; rather, I just prepare retirement education and research. I write this blog column, publish books, conduct research at the Stanford Center on Longevity and deliver workshops on retirement planning topics. This enables me to use my skills and experience to help you, without being influenced by how I'm compensated.
This post contains links to the entire series. Before the 16-week series started, I wrote a series of posts describing the trends that affect retirement planning in today's environment; in effect, these first posts act as an introduction.
Introduction: Trends, strategies and a new vision for retirement
Week 1: Plan for a long life
Week 2: What kind of retirement do you want?
Week 3: Get the right help that you need
Week 4: Invest in your health
Week 5: Take inventory
Week 6: Will you work in retirement?
Week 7: Social Security basics
Week 9: Turn your savings into income
Week 10: Investing strategies for retirement
- Money for Life: Turn Your IRA and 401(k) Into a Lifetime Retirement Paycheck.
- Recession-Proof Your Retirement Years
Week 11: Manage your living expenses
Week 12: Where will you live?
Week 13: Manage your medical costs
Week 14: Addressing the long-term care threat
Week 15: Putting it all together
Week 16: Make the numbers work
As you can see, you'll have to do a lot of homework to properly plan your retirement. Some people find it helpful to form small study groups, so they can share the legwork and kick around ideas. Don't forget to include your spouse or partner in your planning. It always helps to discuss things with people who care about you and are in the same boat.
And don't be surprised if it takes you longer than 16 weeks to complete all the steps. Even if it takes you six months, remember that you're planning the most important part of your life: your rest-of-life! Take the time to put good plans in place for a healthy and secure retirement so you can relax and focus on the things that are really important to you.
P.S. If you want to learn more about retirement planning topics, check out my latest books.