Step 1: Create a Plan

Your first step towards an early retirement is to make sure that you have the fundamentals in place toward paying for your retirement.

For most people, this means contributing the maximum amount possible to your 401(k) or similar plan and taking full advantage of your employer's matching contribution, if any. These steps are particularly important for financing a retirement that could last for years longer than previous generations.

IRAs are better than ever, so consider them, too. Roth IRAs offer the potential for tax-free growth; traditional IRAs offer tax-deferred investing, along with a possible tax deduction. And spouses who don't work outside the home can invest up to $5,500 per year in an IRA.

These retirement investments get you started – but will they be enough? To find the answer, consult our Retirement Worksheet. The calculator lets you enter information about your financial situation and retirement plans, then shows you how much money you'll need.

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