These days, many people are finding themselves in the position of having to plan for their own retirement,  even when they haven't had the time or resources to start saving. This is mostly due to the changing nature of employment; with many companies resorting to contract work and being hired as a temporary employee instead of getting a full-time job, it's becoming harder than ever for people to plan ahead for their retirement goals. Additionally, the cost of living is ever-increasing and not everyone has family members who are able to support them during their post-work years. 

Unfortunately, many people find that they're unable to save enough for retirement without sacrificing too much along the way. If you only have a small amount of money left over each month, it's easy to see how saving for retirement could end up at the bottom of your list of priorities. Even if you aren't able to save enough to live off of, it doesn't mean that you should give up hope; there are ways that you can enjoy your post-work years and age comfortably, even if you're forced to maintain a more modest lifestyle. In this article, we'll explore some retirement planning tips that will help you age comfortably without having to sacrifice your other goals and priorities

Start Saving, Keep Saving, And Stick to Your Goals
If you've been a salaried employee, most of your retirement planning will depend on the amount of contributions you make to your employer's retirement plan. For any type of defined contribution plan that is available in your workplace, this is where saving for the future starts. However, even if you have a retirement plan, chances are that your contributions to it don't amount to much. This is why the folks who give Annuity expert advice recommend that everybody should aim for at least 15% of their yearly income being put into a retirement fund. If you're doing this, then congratulations - you're one of the few people who really take retirement seriously. If you're under-saving, however, then the first step to building your retirement fund is to start.

Know Your Retirement Needs
This is not something that only the elderly need to think about. If you want to age comfortably, then you should start thinking about what you will need for your retirement as soon as possible. Of course, everybody has different needs and will have to prepare differently, but some things can be assumed. For example, it's almost a given that after retirement, you will need less income, so it is a good idea to save more during your working years. By planning ahead and knowing how much money you will spend each month once retired, you can know how much money to have saved up before retiring. 

In addition, if you've never been away from work or far from family members for long periods of time, you should also consider your health care needs. If a family member is elderly and you want to stay nearby, then it would be a good idea to move back closer to family so that this can be an option when they need help. By knowing what you will need for your retirement now, you will have more options in the future when you are in need of them.

Consider Basic Investment Principles
Retirement is a time in one's life to enjoy, relax and not have to worry about money. In order to achieve this goal, you need to take some basic investment principles into consideration when planning your retirement. A successful retirement plan can include having a diversified portfolio that will provide an income for the rest of your life. It may also include a self-directed IRA which will allow you to invest in stocks, bonds and mutual funds. And finally, having a healthy income going into retirement is equally as important as how much of a nest egg you have saved. When you invest early, you can maximize the power of compound interest, which will end up allowing you to have a bigger nest egg in order to enjoy your later years. 

The best way for someone to plan their retirement is by having a diversified portfolio. If one wants to make investments in things such as real estate, they should only invest a small percentage of their total retirement income into it. The majority of a portfolio should be made up of mutual funds that are managed by a financial planner or fund manager. This will give the person peace of mind because their money will be diversified and professionally managed.

Find Out About Your Social Security Benefits
You would be surprised at how many people do not take the time to find out what their social security benefits will be upon retirement. Each year you should receive a statement from Social Security that outlines your estimated benefit amount after retirement based on your earnings history and other factors. 

Speak to a financial adviser or a representative from social security if you have any questions about your benefits. You can receive benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount will be 25% less than if you waited until your full retirement age. If you begin receiving benefits before your full retirement age and continue to work, your monthly benefit could increase by delaying receipt of benefits.

Many people do not think about preparing for retirement until they are close to retiring and it's too late. The best way to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable retirement is by starting early. By knowing what you will need for your retirement, you can plan accordingly so that upon retirement, you will have an income stream coming in each month that funds your needs and allows you to spend your time however you please. 

Knowing what needs and wants you will have during retirement, including the basic investment principles and how much social security benefits that will be available to you, retirement planning can be easier and more relaxed. Also, knowing your health care needs and what you will need to be away from family for extended periods of time will allow you to make an accurate decision that can turn into a dream retirement or not.