Where there is no vision, the people perish.
-- Proverbs 29:18
Let's look at a couple of definitions from dictionary.com:
vi·sion [vizh-uhn] : the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be plan [plan] : a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance
A vision is taking the time to think of (anticipate) in detail what the future will bring. For retirement, you would need to consider future earnings, savings and economic issues such as inflation. Then based on what you foresee in the future, you would formulate an action plan to ensure the best possible outcome given your unique circumstances. You can't have a retirement plan until you have a retirement vision. It would seem to me that there are a lot or retirement plans out there but very few retirement visions.
Many people are putting money into various retirement vehicles, but they haven't taken the time to envision how it is all going to come together and ultimately if it will be enough. Unfortunately, a significant number of people are not even taking advantage of tools at their disposal. As noted in a 2013 MarketWatch article, low rates of participation in 401(k) plans have been a major issue from day one. Automatic enrollment has helped improve the participation rate, but many of those automatically enrolled aren't managing their retirement savings.
A portion of my retirement planning includes dividend growth stocks. One of the beauties of dividend investing is it provides you continuous feedback. As the years and decades go by you can see your earnings steadily grow as you invest your money in dividend stocks. When you hit retirement it is not that drastic change that many people fear. You have spent a lifetime preparing for it.
Below are several dividend growth stocks that have provided retirees with an increasing income for over 50 years:
Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) designs and supplies product technology, and delivers engineering services and solutions to a wide range of industrial, commercial and consumer markets around the world. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1947 and has increased its dividend payments for 59 consecutive years. Yield: 3.1%
3M Co. (MMM) provides enhanced product functionality in electronics, health care, industrial, consumer, office, telecommunications, safety & security and other markets via coatings, sealants, adhesives, and other chemical additives. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1916 and has increased its dividend payments for 57 consecutive years. Yield: 2.2%
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is a leader in the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer products industries. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1944 and has increased its dividend payments for 52 consecutive years. Yield: 2.6% See detailed analysis here.
Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL) is a major consumer products company markets oral, personal and household care and pet nutrition products in more than 200 countries and territories. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1895 and has increased its dividend payments for 51 consecutive years. Yield: 2.1%
Time is only your friend, if you enlist him early. Wait too long and he can be formidable adversary.