Everyone dreams of retirement. You dream of golf tournaments, beaches, and endless re-runs on daytime TV. Unfortunately, retirement isn’t gifted to you—it’s something you need to plan for. Here’s what to expect:

Know Your Needs and How to Meet Them

Retirement is expensive. The earlier you determine your retirement goals, the easier the planning will be. Take your salary into consideration. How much will you need to thrive after retirement? Will you still be paying of a car or a house? Make sure you’ll be able to cover your monthly expenses and have enough left over to enjoy life.

Make a Savings PlanSenior Couple

Does your employer offer a pension or a 401K? Find out how to contribute to those. Many employers will match the amount you put into those accounts. Take advantage of these great benefits! They will make your life easier when it comes time to retire.

Don’t Touch Your Savings

It’s hard to see money and not be able to spend it. If you can avoid dipping into your savings, do it. Remember how hard it was to build your savings? If you spend it, you’ll have to start all over again. Avoid that stress by leaving the money where it is.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Nothing ever runs as smoothly as expected. Create an extra savings account for emergencies—major family illness, natural disasters, or other unforeseen accidents. Accidents always happen at the most inconvenient times. Plan for the inconvenience and alleviate future stress.

Ask Questions

You’re not going through this alone. There are a ton of people out there who are willing to help. Find a local seminar. Stop in, hear from professionals, and meet others who are going through the same thing.