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Wealth Column: How to plan for retirement - a guide by the decade

As financial advisers, we often hear questions from family, friends and new clients about when to start saving for retirement.

The short answer is, the sooner the better. So whether that means you can start after getting your first job or 20 years into your career, it's never too late to start preparing for retirement.

With that in mind, here are a few things you can begin thinking about today to strengthen your financial plan and begin saving for retirement no matter what your age is.

Your 20s: Save, Save, Save

In our 20s we are just starting in our careers, and that often means we don't have room in the budget to stash away huge amounts of savings. However, saving even a small amount can really add up over time. If you start investing just $10 a week at age 25, with a hypothetical 5% rate of return, you would have $60,000 when you turn 65. If you used that same strategy starting at 30, you'd have only $45,000 when you turn 65.

Your 30s: Adding Little Ones To Your Plan

Couples are often choosing to wait to start their families until they reach their 30s. For those of us who have children at this age, or any age, it suddenly becomes clear that they are your priority, in all aspects of life. That means you'll want to look at your insurance coverage and potentially add extra life insurance or disability insurance to your plan. It may also mean that you start budgeting for your children's education

and creating a will so you know they'll be taken care of. We recommend looking for a balance between

supporting children and saving for your own retirement.

Your 40s: Complete Your Estate Plan

Once you reach 40, it's likely that your career is settled, you may own a home and you may have solidified your retirement savings plan. So now you'll want to make sure that your family is truly taken care of should anything happen to you. Your estate plan should expand on the will you may have already put together.

Depending on your situation, you want to set up trusts, review beneficiary designations, consider life insurance if you haven't already and create a power of attorney.

Your 50s: Have a Long-Term Care Plan

This decade is a good time to engage in long-term care planning. If your plan is to purchase insurance, we recommend shopping for one in your mid-50s. Waiting until you get older could mean either the premiums will become unaffordable or you may develop a medical condition, thereby making you ineligible to purchase a policy.

Your 60s: Decide When to Claim Social Security

Most people will claim their Social Security benefits between the ages of 62-69, although you can delay benefits until age 70. It's an important decision since once you begin receiving benefits, the decision is hard to reverse. The decision is essentially a trade-off between having a smaller monthly benefit that you receive for a greater number of years versus a larger benefit you receive for a shorter amount of time. A financial adviser may be able to provide guidance to help you make this decision.

No matter which decade you're in, it's never too late to start, or amp up, your retirement savings strategy. If you need a helping hand in deciding how to take the next steps, we highly recommend reaching out to a financial adviser to help you pursue retirement success.

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