Only 13 percent of people who haven't retired yet say they've given a lot of thought to financial planning for retirement, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Board. Mapping out your retirement takes more than asking yourself, "When should I retire?" Here are key questions to help you form a better plan:
What kind of lifestyle do I want?
Before figuring out how much money you need to retire, you need to consider what sort of lifestyle you want to have. Depending on your goals, you might need to save more than you originally planned. If you're married, you'll need to speak with your spouse to make sure your retirement plans are aligned.
What will my expenses in retirement be?
Most people can expect to spend about 85 cents in retirement for every dollar spent before retirement. Depending on your health, however, you might need to save more. If you have a chronic condition or mobility issues, over time you might end up needing to spend more money to maintain your quality of living.
Will I have enough savings to cover my expenses?
Compare your current monthly expenses with how much income you'll have in retirement. You will also want to calculate your Social Security benefit to determine how it will affect your monthly budget. Assume you'll be in retirement for 25 years and have access to 4 percent of your savings annually.
What impact will taxes have on my retirement income?
Your tax bill can take a big bite out of your retirement income.
Up to 85 percent of your Social Security benefits might be taxable if you have income in addition to your benefits. Withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as traditional IRAs and 401(k)s, are also taxed. Am I emotionally ready to retire?
You need to figure out before you retire whether you want to continue working in some capacity. If you initially choose not to work in retirement, you might have a harder time becoming employed after being out of the workforce for a while.