Retirement Resolutions for Your 20's, 30's & 40's

Question: The other day you had strategies for strengthening your retirement picture for people in their 50’s and 60’s. What about those of us in our 20’s to 40’s? --Maxine, NJ

Answer: Maxine, I didn’t mean to leave you and the other youngsters out. Here’s a checklist to get you on track in 2009 as well!

1.If you haven't started already, open an IRA and/or fund a 401k. These are generally the years when it's toughest to scrape together the cash for investing, but starting young and having decades for tax deferred growth could provide a nice six or seven figure portfolio in retirement. At a minimum, save enough to get your full company match.

2. Since you will likely have 2-4 decades before you'll need this money, consider investing 70%-80% in equities/stocks. Do not be too conservative with your allocation.

4. Like people in their 50's and 60’s, you too should reduce and pay down your non-deductible debt such as credit cards and auto loans. Try to be debt free, perhaps with your mortgage being the only exception, by the time you retire.

5. Finally, if you haven’t done so already, meet with a qualified estate planning attorney to have basic estate documents drawn up including wills, health care proxies, living wills and powers of attorney. Additionally, make sure you have adequate life, disability, homeowners, and umbrella liability insurance to protect you and your family.

Bill’s Bottom Line: Good luck AND Happy New Year! Don’t party too late!!

Bill Losey, CFP®, CSA, America's Retirement Strategist®, is the resident retirement planning expert on CNBC’s “On the Money”. He has been named one of America’s Top Financial Planners and is the author of Retire in a Weekend! The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Making Work Optional. He also publishes Retirement Intelligence, a free weekly award-winning newsletter. You can start your FREE subscription at