DEFINITION of 'Retirement Planning'

The process of determining retirement income goals and the actions and decisions necessary to achieve those goals. Retirement planning includes identifying sources of income, estimating expenses, implementing a savings program and managing assets. Future cash flows are estimated to determine if the retirement income goal will be achieved.

BREAKING DOWN 'Retirement Planning'

In the simplest sense, retirement planning is the planning one does to be prepared for life after paid work ends, not just financially but in all aspects of life. The non-financial aspects include such lifestyle choices as how to spend time in retirement, where to live, when to completely quit working, etc. A holistic approach to retirement planning considers all of these areas.

The emphasis one puts on retirement planning changes throughout different life stages. Early in a person's working life, retirement planning is about setting aside enough money for retirement. During the middle of an individual's career, it might also include setting specific income or asset targets and taking the steps to achieve them. In the few years leading up to retirement, financial assets are more or less determined, and so the emphasis changes to non-financial, lifestyle aspects.

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