Planning for retirement needs to be done by the numbers. It is after all, about how much money you have or will need that counts when approaching retirement.

As a starting point, look at what you are doing now. How much are earning?  

How much are you spending?  Where are you spending those dollars? How much are you saving? What is necessary spending? What can be cut or reduced? This is all about looking at current numbers to help you project possible future numbers for retirement.

Next you will want to estimate what your social security benefits will be beginning at age 62. Some people get annual reports on what their estimated benefits will be at age 62 and what they will be if they are able to wait until a later age, but to age 70. You can also visit the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov to calculate what your benefits will be.

Most Americans believe they don’t have enough – and won’t have enough money to retire, or at least to enjoy retirement. This is why it is never to early to begin thinking and planning for retirement. Americans are living longer than ever, so you want to plan for this extended period in your life. Here are some ways to begin thinking about planning for retirement: Work as long as you can – even if it is part - time or at another job that requires less energy or stress on you – at least you are working and earning money.

Work on getting healthier. The American approach to health, which comes from the medical and pharmaceutical industry is that we will live hard and fast; and when we get sick or begin to lose our health, we will just start popping pills, get a surgery or blame it on “getting older.” With the cost of medical coverage rising every year, don’t wait, start now getting healthier through exercise, better eating, using good supplements and working to lower the effects of stress upon yourself.

You may also want to consider downsizing various areas of your life – including your house, your wardrobe, and car. Do you really that big house? Do you really need the finest model car? These are questions to consider as you think and plan for retirement. These all play into the numbers game of retirement.

One final thought in understanding the numbers concerning retirement. You may want or realize you need help in figuring out your goals for retirement and how to calculate all of the numbers. You may want to seek out professional advice from a financial adviser. There are many good ones out there. Talk to your friends and find out who they recommend. In the end, it will be well- worth getting help in calculating the numbers for retirement, because after all, it is a number’s game!