SEATTLE — Retirement may seem far off into the future, but it's never too early to prepare. Financial Adviser Sarah Cecil has retirement tips for people of any age, from finding a job you love, to having a plan for what you'll actually do once you retire. 

Early earning years

  • Find a career you love
  • Build an emergency savings fund
  • Get disability insurance
  • Find a job with an employer match for retirement funds
  • Open a Roth IRA account

"I was told to go get a job and become independent and take care of myself, and that you get the gold star for," Cecil said. "But today we know for a happier, healthier life, let's get a career that we love because its going to fuel everything we talk about today." 

She also encouraged young people to get disability insurance, either through their job or on their own. "Our earning ability when we're starting out, and maybe in many more stages, is the biggest asset we have. You have to protect that," she said. 

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High income years

  • Set goals about when you want to retire
  • Get life insurance
  • Write a will
  • Increase contributions to your employer retirement account
  • Review employer benefits plans 

"From an age standpoint, say your'e about 30 - 35, maybe a little older, this is where you've got to set your goals," Cecil said. People should start planning when they want to retire and what they want to be able to do in their retirement because it will influence how much they put away for savings now. 

She also encouraged people to review their employer benefits plans. She said there are many hidden benefits that some people don't take advantage of because they get lost in the paperwork. 

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Peak earning years

  • Understand expenses in retirement
  • Plan for assisted care if needed
  • Consider "catch-up" contributions 
  • Sign up for Medicare three months before turning 65
  • Reduce debt

"What your'e spending in those peak years is probably your'e strongest indicator of what your'e going to need in retirement," she explained.

She also encouraged people to make larger contributions to their Roth IRA when their over 50 years old, if they need to catch up. After the age of 50, people can put $7,000 into their Roth IRA account instead of only $6,000 per year. She also warned people to sign up for Medicare at least three months before their 65th birthday to avoid the risk of incurring a penalty if they wait.

Living in retirement

  • Have a plan of what you'll be doing 
  • Don't overspend
  • Do your big goals sooner than later 
  • Review your estate plan
  • Review your living in retirement plan

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"Believe it or not, sometimes the money is the easiest," Cecil revealed. "But what you're going to do in retirement is not." Tackle big goals like paying off your house, travelling or moving to a vacation home sooner rather than later.  

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