• retiring, retirement planning, financial planning, planning for retirement

7 Steps to a Retirement Plan

Next Steps

Retirement planning can raise some unsettling questions. Will I be able to retire at a reasonable age? Will I have enough money? What if I run out? While retiring successfully is no easy feat, there a few steps you can take to chart a safer course.

Recent economic instability has cast a large shadow on many people’s retirement plans. According to an Employee Benefits Research Institute survey, only 16% of workers say they are very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement.1

“The key to a successful retirement is saving early, often and as much as you can,” says Rita P. Mitchell, Vice President, First Tennessee Brokerage, Inc. “Then, of course, you want to draw down your money.”

As you begin to map out your retirement finances, consider the following steps for a more secure retirement:

  1. Determine your monthly retirement expenses to the best of your knowledge. Will you still have a mortgage or rent payment? Will you pay utilities? What other bills are you likely to have?
  2. Consider padding your retirement allowance with a little extra budgeting for things like family emergencies and other unexpected financial burdens.
  3. Evaluate your retirement investments (including Social Security benefits) and conservatively estimate how much you will be able to afford to pay yourself.
  4. Try to keep a portion of your investments in conservative, low-yield investments that will keep you earning on your retirement funds.
  5. As you approach retirement, diversify your stock holdings to lessen vulnerability to market fluctuations.
  6. Understand tax regulations and penalties when drawing down your retirement funds.
  7. Consult a Certified Retirement Counselor® who can work with you to uncover additional avenues to help you meet your retirement goals.

“Take a snapshot of where you are today compared to where you want to be in retirement by having a financial plan completed by a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional [CFP®],” says Mitchell. “The benefit to having a professional financial counselor is guidance in overall retirement planning and retirement strategies for long-term financial goals.”

Do you need help planning for retirement? Visit our Retirement section to contact one of our financial advisors and download a free retirement guide.


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Investments available through First Tennessee Brokerage, Inc., member FINRA, SIPC, and a subsidiary of First Tennessee Bank National Association. Financial planning provided by First Tennessee Bank National Association.

1EBRI.org, July 2012

SSA.gov, June 2012

firsttennessee.com, July 2012

FoxBusiness.com, February 2011


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