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How to Beat Retirement Plan Writer’s Block


A written financial plan is one of the main things that advisers say you need to ensure that you’ll have enough money to retire comfortably. Yet, most of people don’t have one, a new study shows. Why?

Sixty-nine percent of middle class Americans don’t have a written financial plan, according to a Wells Fargo study released this week.  Even among those that do have a written plan, these plans are often far from complete. Just 18% of the plans include a budget in retirement, just 18% include a retirement income withdrawal strategy and just 17% include savings calculations that take into account life expectancy.

What’s going on here? Nearly one in three people say they don’t have a written plan because “I’m overwhelmed and not sure what steps to take, 21% say that “retirement planning is pointless as there are too many unknowns” and 10% say that “I’m too far behind to catch up.” Just 24% of people say that the reason they don’t have a plan is because they’re “confident that I’ll have enough money in retirement.”

So, how does one get started with a written financial plan?  “Just take a step, even if it’s a small step,” says Laurie B. Nordquist, executive vice president, Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust. Rather than tackle an entire written plan in one sitting, which can be “overwhelming,” try to break it out into simple little tasks.  Nordquist likens it to a diet: If someone decides to lose 20 pounds, it can be hard to figure out where to start, she says. But if they break this down into daily tasks, like ‘don’t eat carbs today,’ it’s often much easier to do.  Maybe just try to make a budget for retirement on day one, try to figure out how to make cuts to your current spending to save more on day two, and so on. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional, she says — this can give you the nudge you need to finally get that written retirement plan done.


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    • Thanks for the kind words. Not sure what’s going on with the people telling you to stay away from informational niches, ALL my niches are information based. I have no product based sites that I’m earning with. Maybe these people were never earning and might not have things set up right? Not sure what to think of that kind of logic. If it has a high CPC and high volume of traffic with a lot of ads I can’t imagine you won’t earn. Maybe stay away from gambling and other niches that might eventually be banned/go down the tubes
      I hope that helps…
      ts my first ever visit on this site……good information being shared here..thanks once again.

    • The written retirement plan went out the window with highly volatile stock markets from 2000 onward and a government that is intent on inflating its way out of massive debt while holding interest rates (first short term and now longer term) at unrealistically low levels. I am an MBA and see no sense in the exercise, particularly using tired old metrics in a situation that hinges on fiat actions of governments and big banks worldwide.

    • This made me think that i will be needing to write my own financial plan as i am being non-caring of the expenses sometimes…..

      This article made A lot of sense i should say…

      I like that idea that we can make plans little by little for it not to be overwhelming !!

      Thumbs up!


About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.