The biggest stumbling block to a comfortable retirement is money: some people simply don't have enough of it to spend their retirement years as they like. However, with forethought and planning, you can ensure a comfortable retirement. The earlier you get started with your retirement planning, the more likely you are to live out your golden years in style.Saving
The first component of retirement planning is saving. If you start putting money aside for retirement in your early employment years -- in your 20s -- you will have decades to accumulate your nest egg. It may be hard to think about retirement when you're 25 years old, but if you set aside just a few hundred dollars each month, your savings will have plenty of time to grow, and as you get older you can set aside larger amounts each month. If you get started with your savings plan later on -- in your 40s, for instance -- you'll have to set aside considerably more money on a monthly basis to achieve the same result.
Many companies offer 401(k) plans for their employees -- this is a great way to save money tax-free, but annual contributions are limited. You can supplement your 401(k) by investing in an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA; these are also tax-advantaged, and therefore annual contributions are likewise limited. If you still have extra money to put away, then you can save in taxable accounts, but be aware of the tax consequences; stick to mutual funds that minimize turnover, so you're not paying high taxes every year on dividends and capital gains.
There's no magic formula for saving money; you can't expect a small nest egg to increase 20-fold over a short period of time through "smart investing" or some get-rich-quick strategy. Many people around the world, when asked about retirement investing, claim that they are "investing" in lottery tickets: eventually, they'll hit the jackpot. This is insane. Good investing takes time and patience.Retirement portfolio
Second, you will need to rebalance your retirement portfolio on a regular basis. When you're first starting out, you can afford to take on more risk and invest the bulk of your nest egg in stocks, including international stocks. This gives you a chance at outsized growth during market upswings, and if the market falls, you'll have time to make it up again. As you get older, you should gradually shift more of your portfolio into safer investments such as bonds and, if interest rates are high, even cash. The exact ratio in your portfolio between safer and riskier investments depends on your needs and your tolerance for risk.Additional Retirement Income
Finally, when you do retire, you will have to generate income from your savings. If you have a generous pension plan, you can leave your nest egg intact and allow it to grow more, for your later years or for your heirs. However, most retirees need to tap into at least some of their savings. Dividend-paying stocks can provide income for some of your needs; bond issues often make quarterly payments. Or, take a large chunk of your savings -- a few hundred thousand dollars perhaps -- and purchase an immediate annuity, which will make monthly payments to you until you pass away, often with a survivor benefit for your spouse.
There are many strategies for handling your money in retirement; it is hoped that the articles at this website will help you get started.