Student loan debt has soared in recent years, which puts an increased financial burden on college graduates and their parents. Choosing the right savings plan and investing for college early on can maximize the power of compounding – and help ensure retirement savings aren’t affected down the road.

Sending children to college used to be a distinct financial milestone, one where parents could refocus on their own needs afterwards. Increasingly it may overlap with their transitioning to retirement, making it important to assess needs, analyze assets and develop a strategy early on to avoid conflicting financial demands.

The percentage of families with dual-income households jumped from 47 percent in 1967 to 67 percent in 2007. Retirement decisions for couples can be complex and coordination is critical to stay in step with each other’s goals and expectations – both individually and as a couple to determine any gaps in retirement plans.

With higher debt than previous generations, today’s homebuyers face a heavier burden coming out of school; that reality makes it hard to save for a down payment and intimidating to take on new debt with a mortgage. Since home equity can be a large source of wealth in retirement, it’s important to prioritize saving and managing debt as one works toward the life’s next milestone.

With stretched retirement periods comes the need for maximizing savings and minimizing exposure to risks that can cause uncertainties for retirees. Inflation, market volatility, spending/withdrawal rates and healthcare costs are areas that should be taken into consideration for an effective financial plan to avoid outliving retirement savings.

Living longer is a good thing, however a long life impacts the amount of savings needed in order to be financially comfortable in retirement years. As a way to offset this, many Americans may delay retirement milestones, choose to remain in the workforce longer or consider other tradeoffs to minimize the risk of outliving their retirement savings.

Thoughtful planning, along with balancing your own needs with those of children and older relatives, can help mitigate potential conflicts and increased financial burdens associated with multigenerational caring - in many cases, helping to make it an enriching experience without depleting emotional, physical or financial resources.

Healthcare: For the average American, health care costs almost double after turning 65. And because insurance and Medicare can cover just a fraction of actual costs, and come at costs of their own, an aging population needs to plan accordingly for medical expenses and potential long-term care needs.

Private Debt: Debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but improperly managing it is. Reducing or eliminating debt before retirement, particularly high interest and “bad” debt like credit cards can help provide retirement security down down the road.

Traditionally, Social Security and company pension plans were primarily depended on to fund retirement. As retirement income needs grow larger, however, these established income sources will no longer play as prominent a role. Personal savings, as well as employment during retirement, are expected to play a much larger role funding future retirement needs.