A life filled with rewards and relaxation is what most people want from retirement. But the challenge is how to achieve it, especially if you're getting a relatively late start.
Some millennials are drastically saving money to retire early using the F.I.R.E method, an acronym that stands for Financial Independence and Retire Early.
But Brad and Sandy Bowers are a Michigan couple who say the "F.I.R.E" days have faded. Plus, they've always wanted to enjoy more of life along the way.
"So the idea of saving 70 percent and living extremely frugally, that's a little too drastic," Brad said.
The couple retired at a more traditional age, using standard methods including sound financial planning for securing enough "gold" for their golden years. But they still found their retirement "nest" wasn't fully feathered.
"There's probably things that we would've chosen to do differently, money that was spent that probably shouldn't have been spent," Brad said.
The Bowers' financial planner and tax advisor Rick Barnett now has them on track, but said there's at least two important things to consider than just money concerning retirement.
"Starting early is always the best recipe for success in retirement," Barnett said, but quality of life and relationships at work are also important. "I have clients that are able to retire financially that don't because of the social and emotional reasons."
For middle-aged workers and seniors who are not fully prepared, it's not necessarily too late. Working a few more years and saving more money may still give you a shot at retiring comfortably.
"Getting the finances in order, possibly getting things paid off as much as you can, then building a big nest egg," Barnett said.
General retirement tips include better pre-retirement money management, and assume future prices will go up.
Financial planner Todd Arner said get a good investment professional.
"Save, save, and save. And probably the best vehicle for most younger people to do that is through their 401(k) that they have through work. A lot of employers offer you a match. So if you don't take advantage of that match, you're basically throwing away free money," Arner said.
Also, if you pay off your mortgage, your home becomes more than just shelter. It also comprises a significant contribution to your fixed expenses. By paying off your mortgage you can finally tap into your home’s wealth by living there “rent-free,” eliminating a significant monthly expense.