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Across the country, people are saving for that “someday” called retirement. Someday, their careers will end. Eventually, they may live off their savings or investments, plus Social Security.

They know this, but many of them do not know when or how it will happen. What is missing is a strategy – and a good strategy might make an enormous difference.

A retirement strategy directly addresses the “when, why and how” of retiring. It can even address the “where.” It breaks the whole process of getting ready for retirement into actionable steps.

Creating these steps is so important. Too many people retire with doubts, unsure if they have enough retirement money and uncertain of what their tomorrows will be.

Year after year, many workers also retire earlier than they had planned; according to a 2019 study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, about 43 percent do.

In contrast, you can save, invest, and act on your vision of retirement now to chart a path toward your goals and the future you want to create for yourself.

Some people dismiss having a long-range retirement strategy since no one can predict the future. Indeed, there are things about the future you cannot control: how the stock market will perform, how the economy might do, how your health might decline.

That said, you have partial or full control over other things: the way you save and invest, your spending and your borrowing, the length and direction of your career, and your state-of-mind. You also have the chance to be proactive and to prepare for the future.

A good retirement strategy has many elements.

It sets financial objectives. It addresses your retirement income: how much you may need, where you will live, the sequence of account withdrawals, and the age at which you claim Social Security.

It establishes (or refines) an investment approach. It examines tax implications and potential tax advantages. It takes possible health care costs into consideration and even the transfer of assets to heirs.

A prudent retirement strategy also entertains different consequences. Financial advisers often use multiple-probability simulations to try and assess the degree of financial risk to a retirement strategy, in case of an unexpected outcome.

These simulations can help to inform the adviser and the retiree or pre-retiree about the “what ifs” that may affect a strategy. They also consider the sequence of returns risk, which refers to the uncertainty of the order of returns an investor may receive over an extended period.

Let a retirement strategy guide you. Ask a financial professional to collaborate with you to create one, personalized for your goals and dreams.

When you have such a strategy, you know what steps to take in pursuit of the future you want.

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Tom and John Mills are registered investment advisers and certified financial planners. Reach them at 254-0155. MillsWealth.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group (SWAG), a registered investment adviser.

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