Most people in their thirties and forties don't spend much time thinking about their retirement, let alone planning for it. Sure, they participate in their company's 401(k) plan. Maybe they've opened an IRA. But they're busy building a career, buying a home, or figuring out how to get one kid to soccer practice and the other across town to band recital at the same time.
Then, at some point during the fiftysomething years, it hits most of us: Retirement isn't all that far off. It's time to look more closely at your 401(k), IRA and other savings, plug some guesstimates into online retirement-savings programs, and take long walks with your partner talking about the next stage of life.