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Since the day you started your first “real” job, you’ve probably gotten advice from all kinds of well-meaning people about how to prepare for retirement. With so many different roads to retirement – and so many potential potholes – how do you really know if you’ll have enough to truly enjoy your life after work? Here are a few ways to help ensure you set realistic goals for the way you live in retirement.

To calculate how much money you’ll need in retirement, try this exercise. Visualize yourself in retirement and break out your anticipated expenses into “needs,” “wants” and “wishes.”  Your needs are your foundational floor and should include your day-to-day expenses for food, shelter and health care. Your wants are your discretionary expenses for things like travel, consumer goods and recreation. Your wishes should include your “stretch goals” – these may include things like establishing an endowment for your favorite charity or setting up a trust fund for the grandkids’ education. 

One way to estimate if you’re currently on track to be able to fund your needs, wants and wishes in retirement is to use our Orange Money tool – check it out. 

Go with the flow

After running the numbers, are you on track or coming up a little short? Two quick steps that can make a meaningful difference are to adjust your savings rate and make sure your assets are properly invested. If you’re flexible with today’s “must-haves” and can adjust your savings rate, you may find that you can actually pull off a comfortable retirement by reallocating your cash flow and diversifying your investments.  

Could less be more? 

The key to reaching realistic retirement goals may lie in changing the way you think about retirement. Instead of focusing on how much you want to do and have, maybe think in terms of how little you really need to be content. No one’s suggesting you live a bare-bones existence. But if you’re willing to make a few adjustments in your expectations, you might be surprised by how close you are to accumulating a nest egg that’ll keep you on track for retirement.   

This material is provided for general and educational purposes only; it is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.  All investments are subject to risk.  We recommend that you consult an independent legal or financial advisor for specific advice about your individual situation.

The tax information herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

Securities offered through Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. member SIPC.

Neither Voya nor its affiliated companies provide tax or legal advice. Please consult with your tax and legal advisors regarding your individual situation.             

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