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Bottom Line Up Front

  • Modern retirees are active and busy. Starting retirement planning early can help you afford the lifestyle you want after you stop working.
  • You’ll need to think about how you want to live in retirement, at what age you want to retire, how you’ll save up money and how much you’ll need.

Time to Read

4 minutes

April 14, 2022

What Can Your Retirement Look Like?

Congratulations on exploring the road to retirement! You’re on the right path to creating a financially secure future. Don’t let your current age slow you down, because when it comes to retirement planning, youth is a big advantage. And it’s easier to plan for a comfortable retirement than you may think. All you need are goals, a savings plan and the drive to get going.

The lifestyles of today’s retirees are vastly different from those of their parents. Today’s retirees have active lives. They spend time with family and friends, travel, launch new businesses, volunteer and play sports. With sound financial planning and an early start, your later years can be exactly how you imagine them.

Setting Retirement Goals

The first step is to decide on your goals because you’ll be able to use them to develop your investment strategy. You’ve set goals to achieve things throughout your life, like getting an education, a job and a new car. Planning your retirement is no different. All you need to do now is make a few decisions.

  • Lifestyle: Figure out what you’d like to do when you’re retired and how that will affect your living expenses.
  • Timeline: Decide your target retirement age.
  • Retirement Savings Plan: Determine what type of retirement accounts beyond Social Security best fit your needs.
  • Long-Term Planning: Understand how much money you’ll need to save for retirement and the savings rate it’ll take to reach your goal.


Figuring out what you’d like to do in retirement is fun, and an important part of the planning process. Imagine yourself at your retirement party. What’s next for you? Some retirees pursue hobbies, coach, or mentor others. Many take a class or do the things they’ve always wanted to do but never had the time. What would you like to do? Now, more than ever, retirees have so many options—but they each come with their own expenditures.


Once you’ve decided what you’d like to do during retirement, you’ll need to decide when you want to retire. Your retirement savings goals for quitting work early—say, age 50—will be very different from what they’d be if you plan to stay at your job until you’re 60 or 70. The longer you’re retired, the longer you’ll need to depend on withdrawals from your savings instead of a paycheck. Starting a savings plan now can give you a big advantage thanks to the magic of long-term compounding interest.

Compounding interest refers to what happens over time as you deposit money into your account. You’ll not only earn interest on what you deposited, but you’ll also earn interest on the interest. So, making regular deposits, even small amounts like $100 a month, can help small balances grow a lot over time.

Retirement Savings Plan

Social Security benefits probably won’t cover all your retirement expenses. There are many types of retirement savings plans—including IRAs, Roth IRAs and 401(k)s— that Americans can use to save more. Navy Federal has several articles explaining these in more detail but deciding how you’ll save is just as important as knowing how much you’ll need to save from your current income sources. A Navy Federal financial advisor can help you decide which type of plan is best for you.

Long-Term Planning

Once you’ve decided on your desired lifestyle, your timeline and your retirement savings plan, you can figure out how much money you’ll need and make a plan to save that amount while you’re still working. That number will be an estimate based on life expectancy, market volatility, future health care needs and more. Just start with what you can afford—even if it’s only $10 a week. Then commit to boosting the amount you save as your financial situation and annual income improve.

Many financial advisors suggest you’ll need 80 to 100% of your pre-retirement income annually during your retirement years. Since you’re starting early, that is entirely doable!

Financial Security During Retirement

Your age when you start saving and the amount you save every year have the greatest impact on your personal finances during retirement. If you start saving when you're young, even if it's a small amount, you're more likely to develop a lifelong habit and enjoy a more secure financial future.

Key Takeaways Key Takeaways


Navy Federal Financial Group, LLC (NFFG) is a licensed insurance agency. Non-deposit investments, brokerage, and advisory products are only sold through Navy Federal Investment Services, LLC (NFIS), a member of FINRA/SIPC and an SEC registered investment advisory firm. NFIS is a wholly owned subsidiary of NFFG. Insurance products are offered through NFFG and NFIS. These products are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guaranteed or obligations of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), are not offered, recommended, sanctioned, or encouraged by the federal government, and may involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal. Deposit products and related services are provided by NFCU. Financial Advisors are employees of NFFG and are employees and registered representatives of NFIS. NFIS and NFFG are affiliated companies under the common control of NFCU. Call 1-877-221-8108 for further information.

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.