It’s never too early to start planning for retirement, whether you’re in your 40s or your 20s.  As a financial professional in a state such as Florida that’s so popular with retirees, this is something that’s near and dear to my heart.  There are some great ways that you can plan so that your nest egg is nice and fat by the time you stop working.  Here are a few:

Start today: Have you not started already?  Start saving today, invest what you can to let compound interest work in your favor.  This works best the earlier you start.

Think about taxes: If you have to pay a lot of taxes in retirement, then you must have saved well.  But you should still try to lessen your tax burden.  Think about the impact of required minimum distributions (RMDs) on your taxes, and if you want to avoid those, own Roth assets, but more on that in a bit.  

Think about debt: Retirement represents a certain degree of freedom for many people.  However, that freedom can be hindered by any debt you may have.  Pay off any debt before you retire.  

Contribute to your 401(k): If your employer offers a traditional 401(k) plan, then you can contribute your money before taxes, a potentially huge advantage.  If your employer offers a Roth 401(k), which uses income after taxes, consider your income tax bracket in retirement.  

Open an IRA: Contributions to a Traditional IRA may be tax-deductible, and investment earnings can grow tax-deferred until you make withdrawals during retirement.  But if you meet income eligibility requirements, then Roth IRAs, which are funded with after-tax contributions, meaning that qualified withdrawals are tax-deductible after turning 59 years old, could be a great option as well.

Delay Social Security: The earliest you can receive SS benefits is 62, but for every year you wait before turning 70, the amount you receive in the future increases.  This additional income adds up quickly too.  

Be prepared: I know it’s clichéd, but life happens, and more often than not gets in the way of plans.  This means make good, safe choices, and staying healthy.  Health issues can come seemingly out of nowhere and deplete savings, so save more than you think you’ll need.  

Think long-term: Retirement might seem like a long way off, but that’s all the more reason for thinking long-term.  Don’t dwell on the past, and keep thinking about the future.