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Setting Retirement Spending Goals

Identifying your retirement resources is only half the equation.

Setting your spending goals — both day-to-day spending and larger, one-time goals — is just as important for a successful retirement plan. Here are some tips to get you started.

TRACK YOUR CURRENT SPENDING Programs such as Quicken or our new Baird 360 Wealth tool can track your spending in different categories over time. These can take time to set up and provide you with more detail than you need, but they can measure your spending habits very accurately.

USE YOUR TAX RETURN Your tax return shows all your income for the year plus what you paid in taxes. If you subtract your taxes from your gross income, and then also subtract any savings you put away, the remainder will be what you spent.

FUTURE SPENDING GOALS Don't forget to include those new things you want to do in retirement, like extra travel, home improvements or gifting to kids. When it comes to budgeting for retirement, the most important things are to be honest with yourself about what you spend today, and be as specific as you can on your future goals.

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