There's a day in the future you're looking forward to with great anticipation and probably some anxiety: your retirement day. The mixed feelings are understandable. The prospect of setting your own schedule and spending time on favorite hobbies may make you yearn for your eventual retirement. On the other hand, uncertainty about the future is likely to make you a bit apprehensive. You can reduce your fears by taking a realistic look at how well you're preparing for retirement.
Money is the biggest retirement concern most people have, so having a clear picture of your finances will go a long way toward putting your mind at ease. Saving for retirement isn't what it used to be. The metaphor of retirement as a three-legged stool - supported by a pension, savings and Social Security - is no longer adequate for lifelong financial stability. Like everything else in our increasingly complex economy, preparing for retirement is, well, complex.
The reasons are varied. For one thing, Americans are living a full decade more than their grandparents. For another, traditional pension programs have given way to defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, that are controlled by individual employees and do not guarantee a return. And many feel the ever-reliable third leg of the stool - Social Security is no longer a sure thing.
The best person to decide how to build and invest your retirement monies is you. Of course, you should want advice from the experts, but you should make the final decisions. Start by assessing all aspects of your current and anticipated future financial situations.