Considering that retirement is a period of your life that can last 20, 30 or even 40 years, no wonder planning for it is a complex and significant task. To help you with this task, I wrote a series of posts during the first four months of 2013 aimed at helping you plan for a healthy, secure and happy retirement. This post updates that series by adding links to useful posts that I've written since the series was originally published.
Taken together, this series is an example of a new form of digital publication that organizes posts on a complex topic and periodically provides updates to reflect the latest thinking. This new publishing form even has a creative name -- a "blook."
This series describes retirement planning steps you can take each week for 16 weeks. 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-plus 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 column, publish books, conduct research at the Stanford Center on Longevity and deliver workshops on retirement planning. This enables me to use my skills and experience to help you, without being influenced by how I'm compensated.
Today's post contains links to the entire series, plus relevant posts that I've written since the original publication. 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 three posts act as an introduction.
Introduction: Trends, strategies and a new vision for retirement
These posts triggered a lively debate that you can read in the comments.
Also, you might want to review my recent post that discusses how to use behavioral finance research to help you stay motivated and on track -- so you can persist for the entire 16 weeks.
Week 1: Plan for a long life
Estimating your life expectancy is an important first step.
Week 2: What kind of retirement do you want?
Thinking about what you'll do with the rest of your life will help you decide how much money you need.
Week 3: Get the right help that you need
Because retirement planning is so complex, it's reasonable that you might need some professional help, but make sure you find people who are qualified to help you and have your best interests at heart.
Week 4: Invest in your health
It's well worth your time improving your health. You'll enjoy life more, and you might save lots of money on medical bills.
Week 5: Take inventory
Spend some time documenting all your financial and nonfinancial resources.
Week 6: Will you work in retirement?
Many people will need to keep working, but this doesn't need to feel like a jail sentence.
Week 7: Social Security basics
For most people, Social Security is one of the most valuable retirement resources. Take the time to learn the rules, so that you can improve your retirement security.
Week 8: Strategies for optimizing your Social Security benefits
With a few hours of work, you can figure out how to add thousands of dollars in Social Security benefits.
Week 9: Turn your savings into income
With the decline of traditional pensions, learning how to generate retirement income from your savings is one of your most critical planning tasks.Facing up to the risk of living too long