Secure Your Stress-Free Retirement

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 15, 2023

Let’s face it – planning for retirement can be stressful. The road to funding your post-employment years is filled with unknowns. Many people worry about how they can afford a comfortable life without a regular paycheck. 

But you don’t have to be one of them. 

By planning, saving and enlisting the help of a financial adviser, you can start your golden years fully prepared. Mapping out your financial future and staying on track sets you up for a stress-free retirement.  

How to Secure a Stress-Free Retirement

Securing a stress-free retirement is one of the most challenging financial goals to overcome. Fortunately, you can make the process easier with a few simple tips. 

Step 1: Hire a Financial Adviser

Financial advisers help clients budget, save, invest and plan for retirement. 

While many people think financial advisers only serve wealthy clients, there are advisers that work with people of all income and asset ranges and who can meet your needs and preferences. Generally, their advice isn’t free; prepare to pay fees for services like asset management or ongoing financial planning

If you’re unsure where to begin, consider working with a Certified Financial Planner®, a credentialed adviser who has completed an accredited program. You can also check out Datalign Advisory, a company that matches clients with qualified financial advisers. Datalign Advisory vets a network of financial advisers to put you in control of your financial plan.

When meeting with a financial adviser, provide a complete picture of your financial situation, including the assets and property you own or any debt owed. You’ll also benefit from discussing your financial goals, like when you want to buy a house and your expected timeline for retirement. This information will help your adviser craft a custom plan of attack.

Step 2: Start Saving Early

The best way to save and invest for retirement is to start as early as possible. Experts say that the average historical return over a several-decade period of investing is about 8%, although that return rate is not guaranteed. The sooner you start, the more time your money has to grow. 

Step 3: Save for Rainy Days

Stashing money for emergencies covers bills when an unexpected job loss or medical bill pops up. An emergency fund acts as a safety net so that you don’t need to take on debt to cover your expenses. Generally, you should save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses, though this amount varies according to your lifestyle. 

As you get closer to retirement, you might want to increase your emergency fund to a full years’ worth – just in case. If that feels like too much, start with a smaller goal and work upwards. Once you reach your initial goal, continue saving until you hit your target number. 

Step 4: Diversify Your Investments

Another factor in securing a stress-free retirement is diversifying your investments

Diversification protects your investments by including assets in your portfolio that don’t all move in the same direction. That way, if one investment loses value, others might not, and your overall portfolio can still grow. Plus, spreading money around helps capture greater profits when part of the market outperforms. 

One way to diversify your investments is to invest in a broad mix of assets. For example, you could invest in stocks, bonds, real estate and precious metals. Each asset provides its own potential risks while also offering opportunities to profit. You can also diversify between countries by investing in domestic and international companies.

No matter your specific asset mix, the key is creating a diversified portfolio that meets your needs and goals. If you’re not confident in your diversification skills, hiring a financial adviser can provide the expertise you need. 

Step 5: Estate Planning

No one wants to think about death – or their family fighting over their property when they die. For some, that makes estate planning a crucial part of a stress-free retirement. 

You don’t need a lot of assets in your estate, either. Whether you own real estate, a hefty stock portfolio or just a few family heirlooms, an experienced estate planner can help develop a plan to protect your assets for the benefit of your loved ones.

What to Look for in a Financial Adviser

How you plan for retirement greatly impacts how stress-free your golden years will be. The same goes for your financial adviser. Datalign Advisory makes the process of finding a financial adviser stress-free as well by matching you with a vetted financial adviser that fits your retirement preferences and needs.

1. Credentials

Most retirement planning professionals hold one or more credentials, such as a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) or Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation. Each credential signifies that the professional has met specific standards and requirements pertaining to education, experience and ethics. 

When interviewing retirement planning professionals, don’t be afraid to ask about their credentials and expertise. You can also check out their backgrounds through FINRA BrokerCheck and the SEC Investment Advisor Public Disclosure website. 

2. Clear Payment Structures

Your financial adviser should clearly outline their payment structure and related services upfront, preferably in writing. Knowing what your adviser charges will make budgeting and financial planning easier. 

Financial advisers may charge a flat fee or a percentage of your assets under management (AUM). Generally, this price structure is more transparent.  

Commission-based financial advisers, such as insurance producers or broker-dealer representatives, charge a commission for buying assets or financial products. While they’re required to follow suitability standards, their payment structure is based on the investments you make. Some of those investment products are based on the number of products sold to clients, definitely creating a conflict of interest.

While one is not inherently better than the other, you should know the differences before deciding what kind of financial adviser to work with. You may find that fee-only advisers are more transparent, or that commission-based advisers cost less. But it’s not just about the money – the quality of the advice matters, too. 

3. Quality Services

Aside from credentials and fees, you’ll also want a financial adviser who can meet your needs, such as:

  • Budgeting or debt management help
  • Financial planning services for larger goals (like buying a house)
  • Insurance advice
  • Investment advice
  • Tax planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Estate planning

Not every professional offers this full range of services, so check that your adviser can meet your needs. Datalign Advisory makes it easy for you when you fill out its questionnaire by checking the specialties you are interested in. It’s also crucial that your adviser can provide emotional support and encouragement in volatile markets. Remember, they’re not just there to help you invest – they can also act as a voice of reason when emotions run high. 

Retirement Alternatives

One beautiful fact of the modern world is that there’s not one right way to plan for a stress-free retirement. If scrimping and saving for years doesn’t appeal to you, consider these alternatives:

  • Seasonal work: Seasonal work can supplement your retirement income while keeping you active and social. If you enjoy traveling, you might even find work that includes room and board abroad, such as photography, writing or joining the Peace Corps.
  • Focused career breaks: A focused career break lets you save money while still enjoying your retirement. Essentially, this approach involves working and saving for retirement for a few years, then stepping out of the workforce. During this time you can travel, relax or explore other careers or passions. Then you can return to work for a few more years and repeat the process. 
  • Starting your own business: For those with entrepreneurial spirit, owning your own business is peak entrepreneurship. Starting a business, setting your own hours and following your dream job can be a great alternative to traditional retirement.
  • Hobby jobs: Taking a hobby job lets you stay active and engaged during retirement while providing some extra income. Whether you use your funds for day-to-day expenses or “fun” money, hobby jobs let you explore while keeping your retirement safety net mostly intact. 

Locking in Your Stress Free Retirement

achieving a stress-free retirement is a well-deserved aspiration that requires careful planning, disciplined financial management, and a proactive approach to maintaining physical, emotional, and social well-being. By adhering to a comprehensive retirement strategy that encompasses realistic savings goals, diversified investments, and a contingency plan for unforeseen circumstances, individuals can pave the way for financial stability and peace of mind in their golden years. Furthermore, fostering meaningful social connections, engaging in fulfilling hobbies, and prioritizing health and self-care are essential ingredients for a retirement that is not only financially secure, but also brimming with purpose and joy. Embracing these principles and committing to ongoing adjustments as life evolves can ultimately lead to a retirement characterized by tranquility, contentment, and the freedom to savor life's most precious moments.

Frequently Asked Questions


How much money do I need to save for a secure retirement?


The amount of money you need to save for retirement depends on various factors such as your current lifestyle, desired retirement lifestyle, expected lifespan, and inflation rates. Generally, financial advisors recommend aiming to replace around 70-80% of your pre-retirement income. It’s best to consult with a financial planner to determine an accurate savings goal based on your specific circumstances.


When should I start saving for retirement?


It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. The earlier you begin, the more time your investments have to grow. Ideally, individuals should start saving for retirement in their 20s or 30s to take advantage of compounding interest. However, even if you’re older, it’s important to begin saving as soon as possible to bolster your retirement nest egg.


How early should I start planning for retirement?


It is never too early to start planning for retirement. The earlier you begin saving and investing for your retirement, the more time your money will have to grow and compound. By starting early, you can take advantage of various retirement savings strategies and potentially build a larger nest egg to support your desired lifestyle in retirement.