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Sometimes retirement seems like a distant dream that will not be possible to realize…

However, the more you plan for your retirement, the greater the likelihood it will take the shape you want.
Here are some actionable ideas that you can take right now to improve your chances of a successful retirement.

First, realize that retirement is a demonstration of economics: the tug-of-war between enjoying money now or deferring its enjoyment for some distant (or not so distant!) future.
What this means to you is that each extra dollar saved for the future will cost you something in the present – a difficult pill to swallow for many.

Step 1: Envision exactly what you want from retirement. Sit down with your partner and plan dates, lifestyle and expenses. Assign numbers and add it up.

Realize that this total will cost more in the future due to the rising toll of inflation.

Step 2: Add up what you have now. Include the equity in your house, all of your bank and investment accounts and then subtract credit card and other debt.

Likely, there is a gap between what you have now and what you‚’ll need to retire. This is where time becomes your friend. Time gives you the opportunity to save and it provides the power of compounding returns to money you have already saved.

Now, you can start setting up savings plans. The rule of thumb is to max out your retirement savings plans first: 401(k)s and IRAs are the most common.

Next, make sure that the investments inside of those accounts are set to earn a good rate of return with a mix of stocks, bonds and cash. An easy rule of thumb to remember: At 6% per year, your money will double every 12 years.

If you can afford (without incurring debt) to save more, consider some other tax-deferred methods such as annuities to help increase your chance of having enough money.