When you look at an overview of the financial realities that we all face throughout our lives, you immediately notice how everything is connected. Depending on the extent of your assets, you are probably going to have to plan for your retirement years before you consider how to plan your estate. And how prepared you are to address the financial realities of retirement is going to have everything to do with the value of your estate when you pass on, so it is clear that estate planning and retirement planning are intimately connected.
But the holistic nature of long term financial planning doesn’t begin with retirement and end when you pass on. In fact, the earlier the planning begins the more likely it is that you will be able to achieve all of your goals. In a very real sense you begin this planning phase when you are going through school. Each class that you take, and each step that you take forward, leads you toward a career path. The career that you ultimately choose is perhaps the biggest financial planning decision that you will ever make, whether you realize it at the time or not.
A person who retires at sixty-five years of age is going to have to have the financial resources to support their desired retirement lifestyle for perhaps twenty-five years or more. That is a long time to plan for, and it is not the most pleasant thought for most of us, but that period of time may conclude with residence in a nursing home or assisted living facility. There may be medical expenses and ongoing medication costs that were not originally anticipated. So it is not overly conservative to suggest that retirement planning should begin at the outset of your career, because for most of us it will take a good bit of time to accumulate the resources that we need to retire responsibly.