If you're 30 years old, you're probably thinking about moving up the business ladder, not off it. But according to a recent survey of professional financial planners, now's the time to begin thinking about your "golden years."

But if you believe planning for retirement is something you can put off for a decade or so, welcome to the club. According to the College for Financial Planning, a Denver-based non-profit educational institution that offers professional programs to the financial-services industry, Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) say most of their clients set up retirement income strategies 10 years too late.Retirement planning, say financial planners, is the No. 1 priority of their clients, but most put off doing anything about it until they are between the ages of 35 and 44. They'd be better off if they had the foresight to begin 10 years sooner, between ages 25 and 34, the CFPs said.

"Besides the obvious benefit of accumulating a larger nest egg, planning early for retirement allows (working men and women) more flexibility to fine tune the retirement plan as his or her financial situation changes," said William L. Anthes, CFP president.

"Pre-retirement planning also gives individuals a chance to contemplate their retirement priorities and decide how best to achieve them."

The CFP Survey of Trends in Financial Planning included responses from nearly 500 planners who have CFP designation. They were questioned about issues effecting themselves and consumers, ranging from retirement planning to their clients' outlook on employment and personal earnings.

Eighty-six percent of planners said the main reason individuals request a retirement plan is that they reach an age that they view as critical.

Other reasons include a general concern for their financial future, a lack of confidence in the Social Security system, promotion or increase in salary, a change in careers, divorce or loss of spouse, declining health or disability, loss of employment, marriage or birth of a child.

Planners indicate that the majority of their new clients have some retirement arrangement in place, including 63 percent who own an

IRA/Keogh or SEP, 58 percent who have savings or investments, and 32 percent who participate in employer-sponsored or defined benefit plans.

Of those clients involved in an employer-sponsored program, 401(k) programs and profit sharing plans were the most popular. Only 5 percent of new clients had no retirement income arranged.

According to the survey, clients of financial planners are optimistic about 1989. CFP practitioners said only 8 percent of their clients believe their earning power will be worse during this year, and 86 percent said their clients feel good about their continued employment.