Whether you are in the spring or winter of life, you need a retirement plan. Here are some investment tips on preparing financially for those golden years.

Financial security is the true measure of success and poor retirement planning could set back your standard of living for the rest of your life. A third of all inves­tors believe they will maintain or improve their cur­rent standard of living in retirement. Regrettably most people won’t have sufficient retirement funds.

According to market research people plan to live 22 years in retirement with an anticipated yearly in­come of $44,000. This translates conservatively to hav­ing a nest egg of $700,000, excluding the value of your home as this typically will not produce an income if you are living in it.

The study, which surveyed heads of household ages 30-59 earning at least $40,000, shows that most people are not saving enough to meet their retirement goals. Planning and preparing for retirement can be a difficult task. Despite this everybody needs to be look­ing ahead no matter how old they are. The earlier you start saving, the more you’ll have when you retire.

Whether you’re 25 or 45, you can start a feasible savings plan now. Relying on Social Security to tide you over is a big mistake as it is unlikely this would make much of a difference to your standard of living. Even for those fortunate to be members of a company pension scheme, the retirement planning responsibil­ity has shifted from the company to the individual.

The simplest method is to set aside an amount each month. The longer you have before retirement the greater the potential return as the growing fund benefits from dollar cost averaging and the com­pounding effect of investing income upon capital. Ideally this should be reviewed at least annually and the amount increased in line with inflation but pref­erably above inflation. Remember to invest in other assets to diversify risk such as prop­erty either for your own use or as an investment producing an income and future capital gains.

Successful retirement not only gives financial security but delivers peace of mind.