People of all ages should begin planning for retirement and managing their money well so they are ensured enough income when they do retire. Retirees estimate that people will need 71% of their pre-retirement income to maintain their current lifestyles. Stocks and 401(k) plans are recommended.FactsNonretired Americans with household incomes that average more than $50,000 assumes they won’t be able to retire until age 59.More than a third of affluent retirees with children and grandchildren are helping to support them financially, as are 29% of all retirees. Also, nearly a quarter of all retirees whose parents are alive are helping them financially.Fully 48% of the affluent who aren’t retired as well as of all people surveyed who aren’t retired believe they have to work part time in retirement. Only 23% of well-off retirees and 16% of all retirees polled are working today.Affluent nonretirees estimate they’ll need only 53% of their pre-retirement income to support their retirement lifestyles. But well-off retirees say they actually require fully 71%. Fully 25% of affluent nonretirees think it’s likely they will run out of money before they die vs. only 12% of well-off retirees.Affluent retirees single biggest regret is failing to put more money in tax-deferred retirees said they invested the maximum the law permits, compared with only 48% of the affluent nonretirees polled.Strategies1. Figure out how much income you’ll need in retirement. Retirees told us that to support their lifestyles they typically require 71% of their pre-retirement income, which is much more than many of them expected while they were employed. In fact, nearly two in five retirees said they’re spending more an average of 26% more than they thought they would. Our poll found that nonretirees think that retirement they’ll need a mere 53% of their current income. For most of them, that will not be enough.2. Start saving for retirement early. Retirees second biggest regret is that they didn’t begin saving at a younger age. An early start is especially crucial for women, whose financial security late in life lags men’s at an alarming rate.3. Make full use of all your tax-advantaged investing options. Well over half of today’s retirees (58%) invested the maximum amount allowed in IRAs, 401(k)s and other tax-deferred retirement savings accounts.4. Put more money in stocks. Fully 41% of retirees wish they had invested more heavily in stocks.5. Take good care of your health physically and financially retires biggest nonfinancial regret was failing to take better care of themselves during their working years.6. Don’t postpone critical retirement decisions until the last minute. Nearly 25% of retirees said they wished they had spent more time analyzing their pension plans before leaving work.7. If you are young and have an appetite for risk, invest more heavily in riskier assets (stocks) which are expected to have better returns ever the long haul.8. Invest in mutual funds unless you have the knowledge required to operate your own portfolio.9. As you get closer to retirement, scale back on your risk and start to invest more in less risky assets.10. Bonds are not always less risky than stock. Start saving as soon as you can.11. If you are purchasing an annuity at retirement, be certain your funds are fairly liquid as you approach your desired retirement date.12. Start to learn about investments so you will be more sophisticated and have a better understanding of the possible choices and implications of those choices.13. Be disciplined. Don’t be greedy. Create an investment strategy and follow itInformation GatheringCash Flow Needs-Retirement plan assets have ballooned in recent years. For the average employee or self-employed individual, retirement assets consisting of pension plans, 401(k) and 403(b) plans, individual retirement accounts, tax deferred annuities, and the like, make up an increasingly large, if not dominate, portion of his or her net worth. Therefore, it has become increasingly important for planners to try to permanently optimize those characteristics that make investment in such plans so attractive. When reviewing retirement asset, however, advisors need to consider overriding questions: “What type of cash flow is needed for his or her living expenses?” Before we can even approach the analysis of the retirement assets and distribution options, we need to dip into their retirement accounts sooner rather than later to maintain any semblance of their preretirement lifestyles in retirement. So the question is, do fancy tax strategies really help these folks? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.