Are you planning for retirement? If you’re not doing any planning, then you should be. Retirement is lasting much longer today than it did for the retiring generation 20 or 30 years ago. You now could have 30 or more years to provide for in your retirement, which is a considerable amount of time compared to your working life, which may have been 50 years or less. Government pensions are not going to do anything but provide you with the bare necessities of life — a bleak outlook for the vast majority of retirees.

It doesn’t have to be that way if you implement a bit of prior planning. The problem is that most people like to live for the moment and get swept away buying the latest gadgets and technological wonders. There’s so much to spend their money on that it’s extremely difficult to put a little money aside for retirement. Suddenly the big “six-oh” looms up, retirement is almost upon you, and nothing has been planned.

Younger people can learn from the mistakes of their elders and use the help of innumerable resources, including online and community sources, and/or private investment advisors. In fact, investment advisors are a great help, but be sure to choose a reputable one. There have been too many stories of people losing their life savings from taking bad advice, or worse still, being completely fleeced by disreputable advisors. So always do your due diligence.

There are many ways to save for your retirement, from government subsidized programs to employee pension plans. You can invest in real estate or put your money into blue chip stocks. But keep away from speculative investing. This money needs to be safe and should be in a variety of vehicles, so that if one investment fails you don’t lose everything.

One common “alternative” to retirement planning is to have a good time while you’re young and have the money, and then live on the bread line when you retire. Some people see plenty of sense in this approach when they’re young, but then panic as reality sets in later in life.

If you are lucky enough to own a house, then you at least have a life line. You can sell the house and buy something cheaper. You could go live with your kids. You could even rent a mobile home to live in. If you do sell the house and free up your equity, then you can use some of this money to live on and spread the rest around in some decent investments to bring in a little extra income.

Think about your retirement now and decide how you would like to live when you reach that stage in life. Start to plan for retirement now. Do not leave it any longer. It could soon be too late.