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Ahhh, retirement! It’s the season of life you can’t wait for. Ultimately, retirement is the time in your life when you can finally have adventures, relax, and explore more of life’s possibilities, especially because you will finally have enough time. 

But there’s one caveat. 

You can only achieve your retirement dreams by planning and setting goals today. That’s where the practice of retirement planning comes into the picture so that meeting your goals in retirement is a breeze.

Retirement goal-setting encompasses many aspects of life, including relocation, milestone events, and general life expectations. As you start preparing for retirement, it will help if you gain a realistic outlook on how you will make these retirement dreams come true both financially and from a course of action perspective.

Although planning your retirement can seem intimidating, don’t worry; we’re here to help. From establishing your SMART Goals to general budgeting tips, here is what you need to consider to set goals and accomplish your retirement plans!

Establishing SMART Goals

So, if you’re new to the idea of planning for your retirement, we need to establish your SMART Goals. “But what are SMART Goals?” you may ask. The term SMART in SMART Goals stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

Setting SMART Goals related to retirement will give you a guided sense of direction and keep you on track to meeting your goals for your financial future. These goals are set following those five points to clearly understand the plan’s purpose and how you will achieve them. Additionally, having any type of parameters for your retirement goal-setting will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and setting unattainable goals.

When we relate the SMART Goals approach to retirement, these goals can look like retiring by a certain age, with a specific level of yearly income, and what you want to do within those years of retirement. 

Of course, those do not need to be the same goals you set for yourself. Making an individualized retirement plan that meets your goals and suits your lifestyle is critical. Also, remember to celebrate the small wins that will inevitably help you win big. 

Setting a Retirement Budget 

Let’s discuss your plan for retirement. Setting your budget for retirement is arguably the most critical part of reaching your goals in retirement. That’s because to achieve your retirement goals, you will need monthly income. 

Setting a budget isn’t just about how much money you can set aside now; it’s about how much money you’ll need to live your daily life and experience milestone events during your retirement. 

Milestone events can look like taking a luxurious vacation at the onset of retirement or relocating to your dream destination. Also, you will need to have money saved up for health-related expenses because, as you must know, experiencing greater health complications as we age is a reality for many. 

To start planning your retirement budget, consider how much money you believe you will need to live the lifestyle you want during retirement. That can include milestone events and basic things like daily living expenses. After that, you can start taking actionable steps toward saving money for your goals in retirement. 

For starters, putting as much of your yearly income as possible into your retirement savings account is best. Also, it is always ideal to max out your company’s matching plan for retirement accounts if you have a 401(k) or 403(b).

On a smaller scale, to start building liquid savings that you can also put toward financial security in retirement, you can start by making small habit changes. What may seem like a small but frustrating sacrifice today can have an astounding impact on your future, for instance:

  • Save $1 a day and put it into a high-yield savings account.
  • Minimize unnecessary spending. 
  • Practice frugality and minimalism. 

Your retirement budget is your key to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life after your career. 

Prioritizing Health

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As stated in the last section of this article, when saving for retirement and planning your budget, you must factor in medical expenses. But did you know that making lifestyle improvements for your health now can save you money in the future? Eliminating bad habits like smoking and junk food can save you thousands of dollars annually and increase your life expectancy. 

When it comes to splurging, investing in your health is wise. So whether it’s organic produce, a gym membership, or more frequent checkups with your general care provider, don’t be afraid to take the plunge into health investments. 


Another part of retirement goal-setting is factoring in where you want to live during retirement. Some retirees may opt to stay where they are located if their house is paid off and they enjoy the general location. But for others, it may be wise and desirable to relocate. 

If you live in an area with a high cost of living (HCOL), it may still be advisable to relocate when you retire, even if your home is paid off. But weather and the local scene can also be great drivers for relocation during retirement. According to Forbes, the following places are some of the best locations for retirement!

  • Athens, Georgia
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Lawrence, Kansas
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Roanoke, Virginia
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • The Villages, Florida
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Sun City, Arizona
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Spokane, Washington
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • Savannah, Georgia

These locations all have unique things to offer that can be desirable for retirees, including low housing prices/rent, lively local scenes, and great weather. 

Retirement Goal Examples

Now we are on to the fun parts of planning for retirement. You can do anything your heart desires when it comes to retirement age. From travel to building a business, here are five ideas you should consider when setting your goals for retirement!

Traveling the World 

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Traveling the world is one of the most common retirement goals. That’s because retirement travel offers a sense of freedom; you no longer have to worry about taking time off from work or chasing around kids. 

But traveling during retirement doesn’t have to be expensive! 

Planning is your friend when traveling on a budget, much like it is for retirement goal-setting. Often, the sooner you book ahead, the better rates you can get for transport and lodging. Also, making small changes like packing your food, taking advantage of free attractions and senior discounts, and paying with cash reward cards can significantly reduce the impact of retirement travel on your finances.

If you are still determining where to travel when you retire, don’t worry; the current seniors have already figured out the best destinations! Some of the most popular retiree travel spots are:


Hawaii is full of beautiful beaches, warm weather, and some of the best food in the U.S.!


This country has a rich history, great food, and many tourist attractions!

U.K. and Ireland

Whether you want to enjoy the deep history or take in the beauty of grassy green Ireland, there is something for everyone here!


If you’re a foodie who loves pastries, France is the place to go!


Wildlife abounds in the Australian outback; you must go to a safari park here!


Something about this blistering cold state draws us all in; maybe it’s the wildlife or the stunning undeveloped beauty!

Las Vegas

Let the lights of Sin City guide your way to becoming a high-roller for a week – what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

The Caribbean

There’s nothing like taking a dip into crystal blue waters and sunbathing on white sandy beaches. If that sounds like Heaven to you, visit the Caribbean!

Most retirees would agree that the warmer the location, the better! Which one of the stunning world wonders do you want to visit in your lifetime?

Writing Books 

Exploring your creative side and engaging your mind in a thoughtful activity are two important aspects of keeping your mind sharp during retirement. That’s why you should consider writing a book. Whether it’s a steamy romance, an epic adventure tale, a children’s fairytale, or a detailed memoir of your life, writing a book is a great goal in retirement.  

And did you know that you don’t even need to go through the hoop of finding an agent or publishing company? There are so many self-publishing resources available right at your fingertips. For instance, here are some of the top self-publishing resources to help you get started on your book-writing journey:

Alliance for Independent Authors 

They offer self-publishing services and a network of advisors, fellow authors, workshops, and more!


Scrivener is the ultimate writing tool/software for those looking to write, edit, and publish their books. It has unique features that allow you to organize notes, create story outlines, and help with general editing.


Pressbooks is an all-encompassing application that will help you easily format and create your book. It also has a book cover generator that produces fantastic results!

If you were to write a book, what would it be about?

Starting a Business 

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So you may be thinking, “Why would I want to start a business if I just retired?” You’re right. It doesn’t make sense when you view your career as a burden. But what if there has been something you have always been passionate about? What if that something could generate a bit of income, but you never had time to do it previously? 

If you have a unique business idea that you have always been curious to try, retirement may be the time to do it! And having the extra cash flow from your own business during retirement can greatly help make daily life easier!

If you’re unsure of what a successful retirement business venture could look like, here are some of the top choices:

  • Become a Franchise Owner
  • Real Estate Investment
  • Dog Walking
  • Online Retail
  • Grow and Sell Plants

Working and running a business in your own time on your terms can feel more refreshing than a 30-year career.

Making New Friends 

Although retirement is often considered a time for self-reflection and quietness, maintaining a social circle is still vital for one’s health. That’s why you should consider making new friends as one of your goals in retirement, especially if you plan on relocating. 

But making friends as a young or middle-aged adult is already hard enough. How do you even begin to make friends in your retirement years?

Well, it’s much simpler than you think, especially in the digital age! Here are the top ways and resources for making friends during retirement!

  • Meet-Up Apps
  • Community Activities
  • Join Clubs

Even the most introverted people need a strong support circle during this new phase of life.

Leaving a Legacy 

When we begin to ponder our existence on this earth, it can feel daunting when we realize we don’t want to be forgotten. That is why you should consider ways to leave a legacy when retirement goal-setting. 

Leaving a legacy will ensure you are never forgotten for generations to come. You will have a lasting impact on the people in your life and even strangers; it can bring tremendous peace to those in their final days.

But how do you evening begin to leave a legacy? Is it something you can do overnight, or do you need to work at it through your retirement years? The truth is, it is a bit of both!

If you are unsure of where to start, here are some ways you may want to consider leaving your legacy:

Start an Impactful Business

A business that impacts your local community or family is a stellar way to promote generational wealth and leave a lasting legacy.

Make a Charitable Donation in Your Will

Writing a will that includes a substantial charitable donation is a way to ensure you make a difference in this world for years to come. You can use a donor-advised fund to save on taxes while meeting your charitable aspirations. 

No matter how you leave a legacy, it is wise to consult a financial advisor when it comes to any estate planning. 

Make Your Retirement More Comfortable and Joyful 

Setting goals for retirement and planning for the future doesn’t have to be stressful; it’s simply a way to ensure your post-career life is easier and more enjoyable. Life is short, and we are not guaranteed anything. Pre-planning can help eliminate surprises later. So, take the plunge into budgeting, consider what you want out of life, and make your dreams come true by making goals for retirement today!


How is Retirement Calculated? 

Calculating retirement is a completely individualized process. Although you can start by taking four main points into consideration: current age and desired age of retirement, existing savings, cost of living, income sources, and your annual retirement account contributions. You should also remember that despite the average age of retirement being 65 years old, taking early retirement can be more enjoyable. 

If you want to start calculating your budget without manually crunching the numbers, which can be quite tedious, we recommend using a retirement calculator or consulting a certified financial planner.

And as always, no matter the result of your calculations, it is always wise to invest heavily in your 401(k) or Roth IRA account and minimize your current expenses as much as possible.  

You can also factor in receiving your social security retirement benefits when you reach 62.

How to Analyze Your Retirement Savings by Age? 

Analyzing your retirement savings per year of age can guide you on how much you should have saved. Of course, this can differ for everyone based on what they desire to do during their retirement, but it still works as a general jumping-off point.

Retirement Savings by 30

At age 30, you are finally gaining your footing in the professional world! It’s an exciting but critical time, so get ready to buckle down and save for retirement by throwing as much money as possible at your retirement account.

By the time you are 30 years of age, you should have at a minimum 1x your salary in your savings accounts. Although, having 2x your salary is even better! That means if you make $50,000 a year, your retirement savings account(s) should have at least $50,000. 

Retirement Savings by 40

Once you reach your 40s, you will start to know what you want out of your retirement years. With the added years of experience in your industry, you should also have had a salary increase.

Accounting for those increases and a steady savings plan, your retirement funds should now be three times the amount of your annual income. 

Retirement Savings by 50

By 50, you start to feel like you are getting closer to the retirement finish line. Ensure by this time that your retirement goals are set in stone, and know how you want to spend the rest of your years.

Once you reach this golden age, it is best to have at least five times your annual salary in retirement savings. 

Retirement Savings by 60

If all has gone to plan, and you are following the typical retirement trajectory, by age 60, you are nearing retirement — only five years away from saying farewell to your industry. It’s a bittersweet time and a time to ensure all of your affairs are in order.

At the ripe old age of 60, you should have eight times your yearly income.

Retirement Savings by 70

We all hope to retire before reaching 70 years old, but life happens, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. Just know that if you find yourself in this position, your retirement is more than well-deserved!

By the time you reach 70, you should have a whopping ten times the amount of your annual income.


Christopher Alarcon started Financially Well Off to make personal finance more enjoyable. He's passionate about self-improvement, personal finance, and interviewing others.

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