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There are three phases to the average person’s life: childhood, adulthood and retirement.

The three are cyclical. They’re all supposed to help prepare an individual for the next steps in the process of life.

For example, everything we do in childhood is to prepare us for adulthood, right? As kids, we learn values, right from wrong, work ethic and eventually education and skills that carry us into adulthood.

The longest phase, adulthood is from age 20-to-60+ for most — a time where we work, secure our future and better our lives.

But bodies age, stamina fades and we all must retire at some time and relax into the final phase of our lives.

But in retirement, life still moves forward and cost of living expenses, medical expenses and other factors make it necessary to plan for the future while we’re still young.

Retirement planning is one of the most important things one can do in adulthood — a multi-year process which takes time, money and effort, but which can drastically impact the quality of a person’s life once out of the workforce.

Tommy Meyer with Meyer Financial Group in Thibodaux said creating a plan is a must. He and his team of workers are available throughout the year to ensure that each person’s needs are met — long before they ever actually have to move out of the workforce and into the final stages of life.

“The best way to insure a healthy retirement is through the proper planning,” Meyer said. “It is important to understand all of your options with regarded to social security, pension, employer retirement planning and personal savings. Having a plan and monitoring it will give you the confidence you need to enjoy your retirement years.”

One is never too young or old to start planning for the future.

Many experts say that ideally, one would develop a retirement plan when they’re younger — at the time they’re just getting into the work force and are securing a consistent income. This allows for greater savings over the course of a person’s income-earning years, which, of course, allows for interest to compound more times.

But if you’re a 30-something, a 40-something or even a 50-something, please do not let those last few paragraphs cause you to lose sleep.

Meyer said retirement planning can be done at any time and the best plan for each individual varies from person-to-person — regardless of age.

“It’s never too late to plan for retirement,” he said. “I have worked with clients who are 20 years away and clients who are approaching retirement soon. There are several ways to catch up for retirement when you start later in life. The rules have created a catch up provision for individuals 50 and older, which is a good starting point.”

Meyer said it’s one thing to just save money as you work, but having an actual plan will help avoid some of the pitfalls that many don’t consider when planning their financial future.

At Meyer Financial Group, trained professionals are always on-hand to tailor specific plans for each customer, while also educating them on the things that can happen along the way.

“Once you’ve built your retirement nest egg, it’s important to understand the risks associated with retirement, inflation, market risk and etc. If you have a plan, you will understand the effects of these things.”

Likewise, even those who do plan ahead have to be cautious of some factors which need to be considered.

Meyer said people are living longer now than ever before, so the money we save today has to stretch out sometimes 20, 30 or even 40-plus years, which presents challenges.

People also have to learn how to live on a fixed income, while also enjoying day-to-day life, which presents challenges on its own.

“Clients are living longer, which adds several factors which may not have been considered,” he said. “The biggest are health insurance and long-term care costs which can dramatically change the landscape of your retirement.”

But no matter how much one plans, saves or schemes for this next phase in life, Meyer said it’s a transition — one that’s difficult for some to cope with.

He said that a big part of retirement planning isn’t financial at all, but is more geared toward a person figuring out what to do with the spare time that will become present and how to use it productively to maintain a happy, healthy life.

“Transitioning from a career to retirement is not just planning financially,” Meyer said. “It’s human nature to tie our worth to our jobs. But in planning, I always talk about what’s next? Maybe it’s volunteering, starting a new career or, most common, spending time with grandkids. Another challenge is going from accumulating assets to now distribution. But again, having a current financial plan provides the peace of mind we need to enjoy the fruits of our labor.”


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