Over the years we’ve helped many clients plan and achieve a successful retirement. While your personal retirement situation is unique, there are several key steps you should take to ensure a successful outcome. To help you get started, we’d like to share with you the five most common questions we are asked about retirement:
How long will my money last in retirement?
The most simple thing you can do to ensure your money will last in retirement is tracking your expenses. In the first year of retirement your income and expenses will change from the previous year which you were working. Maybe you’re spending less on transportation because you aren’t driving to work every day. Maybe you’re spending more to cover medical costs because your insurance is no longer paid for by an employer. Track these expenses and pay close attention to how your spending in retirement changes over time. Knowing your cash inflows and outflows in retirement is key and financial planning can help to project these figures over your lifetime.
When should I begin taking social security and other pension benefits?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. You can read plenty of differing opinions about claiming social security at your full retirement age, early or delaying. The right answer for you is specific to your financial situation. It’s important to consider your health and family’s longevity for clues, but what’s more critical is understanding all of your sources for retirement income and how distributions from certain types of investment accounts affect the big picture. Be sure to consider how taxes impact retirement withdrawals and plan accordingly if you still have liabilities to pay.
How much money do I need to retire?
You can never save too much, but the amount you’ll require to live a comfortable lifestyle in retirement is largely based on your expectations. Being able to do more with less means you may not have to save as much as some of your peers. Another major factor is where you choose to retire, staying in your home or residing somewhere with a high cost of living may prove to adversely affect how long your money will last. Be sure to evaluate what is most important for you, and why, to achieve your ideal retirement.
How will I pay for medical expenses in retirement?
Avoid the pitfall of not signing up for Medicare at age 65 when it’s time to enroll. Most everyone should consider signing up for Medicare Part A when they become eligible but depending on your situation it may not be beneficial to sign up for Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, or any other supplemental plan. With a little bit of planning you can even take advantage of the triple-tax-benefit of using a Health Savings Account. While it may not always be the case, most retirees can expect medical expenses to increase during retirement, so plan accordingly.
How will taxes impact my retirement?
Many of us think that our taxes will be lower in retirement, but that may not necessarily be the case. In addition to taxes on social security and pension income, if you’re like most retirees whom took advantage of tax-deferred retirement savings program, these withdrawals will also be taxable upon distribution. Thoughtful tax diversification and distribution planning can reduce the taxes you owe in retirement. Better yet, you may want to consider how opportunities to benefit the charitable organizations and causes you care about most can also benefit your tax situation in retirement.
There are dozens of other important questions and issues to consider. We’re happy to meet with you to explore those questions together and help you achieve financial peace of mind in retirement.