Many of us long for a time when most people will live longer and maintain their vitality throughout their golden years. This might have seemed like a remote dream decades ago but is becoming a reality with improved health information and medical technology. The concern of outliving one’s retirement funds is very real. If you’re just starting your career, start right away. If you have already delayed saving, you’ll need to figure out how to make up for lost time.

The one thing you should not do when preparing for retirement is to NOT delay.

Starting Early with Your Retirement

Few people start planning for their retirement the first day they land a job after college, but it would be much easier if more people did. Starting your retirement fund early will help you learn the ropes of investing and allow you to take risks. The New Rules of Retirement by Robert C. Carlson outlines how much you’ll need to save for retirement (as a start) and then how to manage your retirement nest eggs before and during retirement. Get a head start by investing even a very small amount at first and gradually build it over time. Compound your investment success by reinvesting returns.

Another advantage to starting early with retirement is that you may have the opportunity to make enough money to retire sooner. This is likely to happen if you are at your ease with investing because you have enough time to put more time and effort into investments. If you are a young investor, you can take risks and follow some high risk investing ideas while at the same time keeping a portion of your money in stable investments you can depend on for the long term.

If You’re Late to the Game

If you’ve waited a long time before starting to invest for retirement, you should not despair. After all, you have to do something or you probably will be left in the lurch when it is time to retire. It is becoming increasingly clear that Social Security benefits do not provide the same stability they once did, and most people require supplemental income from their own investments to live comfortably in old-age. It is worthwhile to get feedback on making financial decisions even if you plan to do your own investing.

Fisher Investments Plan Your Prosperity, is a guide on why “retirement investing” and “financial planning” aren’t very different from each other. The book offers easy to follow exercises that will help you better understand where you are now, and how to plan for the future. When you are starting your retirement planning later rather than sooner, you may not be able to take the kind of risks a younger investor can. However, you need to make enough money for retirement relatively quickly.

Be Diversified

You probably heard the expression, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This is an important principle for investing, particularly in areas such as retirement planning that are crucial for your future comfort. Consider a variety of investments such as stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities and precious metals. You should also diversify risk with a combination of long-term buy and hold stocks and investments that involve some risk and are likely to provide significant returns. If you’re unsure of what investments might work for you, it’s probably time to seek professional financial management. Search online for financial companies, and then research them to see which one might fit your needs best. You’ll have to decide of you want to work with a big national company or a firm closer to your home.

You may be early or late to retirement investing, but you cannot neglect it entirely. When planning your retirement, it’s important to take into account how much money you will need for retirement and consider inflation and how cost-of-living may change over the years. There are many books and materials online to help guide you, no matter where you are in your saving years. Just remember the one thing to avoid when planning your retirement – don’t delay!