With individuals living longer lives than ever before, the need for a customized and reliable retirement savings plan is critical. And, in today’s tumultuous economic climate, it’s never too early to begin saving.

Fortunately, there are a variety of types of retirement plans to choose from – each with their own unique characteristics and benefits. Highly-popular 401(k) plans give employees the option to receive immediate cash payments from employers or make pretax, deferred contributions; while individual retirement arrangements, known as IRAs, are powerful savings tools that offer specific tax benefits. Under the IRA umbrella, individuals can choose from traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs, which provide a range of investment choices highlighted by the benefit of tax-sheltered earnings growth. Other IRA options include inherited IRAs, which are handed down to selected beneficiaries, and Stretch IRAs, which make it easier to “stretch out” the amount of time that funds can stay in a person’s IRA after they become deceased.

As you begin to plan for the future with an eye on financial protection, it’s important to weigh all of the available retirement savings options and decide which option will work best for your individual needs. Careful planning now can help ensure you can enjoy financial independence during your golden years, so you can make the most of this special time in your life.