Four Retirement Planning Steps to Take in 2024

| October 25, 2023 | By

Whether retirement seems far off on the horizon or is excitingly around the corner, you can take steps this year to make your retirement years even more incredible. 

Here are four specific ways to move your retirement planning forward right now.

1. Determine Your Ideal Retirement Lifestyle (and the Funds It Requires)

Picture a tranquil morning with a cup of coffee on your patio, overlooking a serene beach, or maybe your retirement vision involves a bustling city view. Either way, your ideal retirement lifestyle is unique to you. Pinning down those dreams now—and having a realistic understanding of how much they’ll cost—will help you make them a reality.

Formulating an answer to the following questions should help get you started: 

What are your retirement goals?

Consider the type of activities you enjoy now, and think about how you’d like to spend time with family and loved ones in retirement. Do you see yearly escapes to tropical locales, for example, or is there a lifelong hobby you’re interested in spending more time and resources on during your golden years? 

Where do you see yourself living in retirement?

No matter which chapter of your life you’re in, housing is likely a major cost. Retirement may be no different—in 2022, a survey found that retirees often spend about a third of their monthly income on housing. 

Do you plan on keeping your family home, relocating to a supportive retirement community, or downsizing to a perfectly picturesque cottage in a lovely area? Each choice may come with different cost considerations. 

How much do you need to fund these goals?

Keep it vague, if that helps: Would you like to go on a vacation every year? You know approximately how much that costs, so jot it down. Would you like to pursue a leisure activity? Is there a part of the country where you can move closer to family or ideal weather? Incorporate these costs, too.

Remember to incorporate projected healthcare costs into your calculations. A couple retiring at 65 in 2022 could expect to spend over $300,000 for healthcare and medical expenses in retirement. In the future, that minimum will likely increase. 

Answering these questions may help you reach a general idea about how much you need to save for retirement. And if you’d like help arriving at your specific retirement savings goal, our team is always ready to help. 

2. Pick Your Financial Retirement Planning Strategy

You may be reeling a bit—no matter what number you came to as you worked through the questions in the last section, it’s likely a big one. 

Here at BNC National Bank, we’ve got your back. Whether you’ve got time to let investments grow or need to figure out how to fund retirement with a little less notice, you will have options to consider, including: 

  • Traditional retirement assets, such as 401ks and IRAs: Both of these vehicles are favorites in the retirement planning world, and for good reason. 401ks (often offered through employers) and IRAs (which you can open individually) offer many financial advantages
  • Unconventional retirement assets: These may include real estate, lucrative hobbies, or even collections. You may own a second home, property rental, or a collection of antique vases that could constitute a cushion for your years in retirement. Understand what these resources are worth, and talk to your financial team to see if there are any strategic ways to leverage or safeguard them now. 

To make saving for retirement as easy as possible for your future self, employ set-it-and-forget-it strategies wherever possible. These can include pre-tax contributions to your IRA through work or auto-transfers to dedicated retirement accounts through your bank. 

Finally, schedule a meeting with your trusted banking advisors to review your retirement strategies on a regular basis—yearly, if possible. Check in to make sure everything’s going to plan and update your strategies as needed. 

3. Plan for the Unexpected (Estate Planning and Retirement Planning)

Retirement planning isn't just about getting ready for sunny days and clear skies. For your retirement strategy to be truly ironclad, you need to expect the unexpected—and plan for it. 

Start planning for these four elements to protect your future and your peace of mind: 

  • Insurance: Health, life, and long-term care insurance can help shield you from unforeseen costs. 
  • Legal documents: Dive into wills, trusts, and powers of attorney now, not later. 
  • Medical expenses: Funding a health savings account (HSA) now can help you cover extra health expenses later. 
  • An emergency fund: Everyone should have one—especially retirees! Sudden home repairs and family crises don’t stop once you turn 65. 

We’ve talked a lot about decision-making and strategic saving, which is a big part of effective retirement planning. We’ll end this article with a lesser-known retirement planning tip that can make a big difference both now and in the future. 

4. Take Care of Your Health

Investing in your health isn’t just about feeling good today. It can also be a strategic financial move for your retirement. If possible, maintaining your health can trim your long-term healthcare costs, enabling your retirement funds to stretch even further. 

Although this strategy may not be possible for everyone, if you can, consider investing in healthy lifestyle choices such as clean eating and regular exercise, and attend your yearly physicals. These seemingly small actions can have a big payoff later! 

Ready to Chart Your Best Path Forward?

Retirement planning can be overwhelming. BNC National Bank is here to guide you through every step, from right now until your best possible retirement! 

Want more information? We’ve got you covered. Check out our Guide to Retiring to learn more about how you can cover tomorrow, today!

Retiring Welll Starts Today