“Retirement is changing.” So begins a recent Grand Rapids Magazine Look+Feel column, “A Shift in Retirement.” As retirees are living longer with less access to traditional pension plans, Steve Starnes, MBA, CFP® notes that financial planning plays an even more important role in the ability to retire as we desire. Plus, there’s lifestyle planning. “Not doing anything [in retirement] is hard for a lot of people,” says Steve, “whether they need the money or not.

Practically speaking, most people should start saving and investing 10%–20% of their salary early on, so compound growth over long timeframes can build their retirement reserves. The later you start, the higher the percentage should be. Pre- and post-retirement budgeting is important as well, to stay on top of your income and spending.

Especially if you’ve put off saving for retirement, you may also want to continue working part-time in retirement. There are the financial benefits, plus, many find they enjoy it. “People underestimate how much they miss working,” says Steve. “[T]he social reward … the feel of value.” If it’s not about the money, you can turn to volunteering for similar satisfaction.

Throughout, planning is essential for maintaining your retirement lifestyle during evolving times. “If a plan is well-designed and the unexpected happens, it’s just trimming at the edges to bring it into alignment,” says Steve.

For more ideas on how to prepare for a meaningful retirement, reach out to us today, and/or read “A Shift in Retirement” in the May/June print edition of Grand Rapids Magazine.