Understanding the retirement planning process and how to succeed at it
For many of us, the word “retirement” conjures up images of a leisurely life spent golfing, gardening, and traveling. But the reality is planning for retirement and achieving your post-retirement goals can be complex.
Consider retirement planning the process of creating a blueprint for financial security while you’re in retirement. It can include saving money, investing, as well as purchasing insurance. Retirement plans are important for everyone and can help you determine everything from how much money you’ll need to save to when you should start withdrawing from your retirement accounts.
What Is Retirement Planning?
Retirement planning is essentially the creation of a roadmap that helps you achieve your retirement goal. It can include figuring out the savings you will need to live comfortably, if retirement early is an option or if you may need to work longer to put more money in savings, as well as how your social security administration benefits can contribute to your overall financial well-being.
Creating a comprehensive plan can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the most important steps you can take is to evaluate your current savings, estimate your expenses and figure out how much monthly income you’ll need to cover those expenses.
This process can also help determine when you want to retire and how you plan to achieve your retirement goals. Retirement age is usually different for each individual and can rely on numerous factors. The same can be said about retirement goals. Every individual has retirement goals or plans that matter to them, but may not always have a plan on how they’re going to meet them. A financial professional can help put together a comprehensive retirement plan that meets each individual’s needs, recommendations on what to consider for retirement, and was they can meet their goals.
Why Is Retirement Planning Important?
No one knows what the future holds, but having a roadmap to follow can help you make smart financial decisions that pay off later. A retirement plan not only helps with financial decisions but can assist you in staying on track if circumstances change or if you encounter bumps along the way.
Save. Save. Save.
Whether it’s a pension plan, a traditional ira, a Roth IRA or 401k, saving is one of the most important things you can do. If saving and planning for retirement hasn’t been a priority there may not be enough money saved up to cover living expenses, especially if you end up living a longer life. If working well into your golden years or struggling to make ends meet once you finally do retire isn’t something that sounds appealing, saving money and ways to do so can be an important part of your plan.
Reduce Your Long-Term Stress
Going into the rest of your life wondering where your money will be coming from or if you’re going to make ends meet likely doesn’t sound appealing. When you plan ahead you help to reduce your stress levels. If you know how much money you need to have saved and have a plan in place to achieve your goals, you’ll be less likely to worry about your financial future.
At the end of the day, a well-thought-out retirement plan gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you have a fully vetted plan in place for your golden years.
How Do I Start Retirement Planning?
The best way to start retirement planning is by meeting with a financial planner or advisor. Having a professional on your side not only means being able to figure out how much money you’ll need saved based on your current income and living expenses, but they can show you what tax benefits may be available to you, ensure you and your family members are taken care of over time and so much more.
While online calculators and robo-investors are an option that some investors and individuals take advantage of, having a real person you can talk to, answer questions, show you ways to reduce taxes and more can put your mind at ease and take the hassle out of planning.
Putting Together an Effective Retirement Plan
As mentioned above, planning for the rest of your life can be a complex process. The first step not only means calculating how much money you will need to have saved, but estimating retirement benefits, expenses, healthcare costs, and any other debts or obligations you may have. Once you have an estimate of your expenses, you can start saving and investing accordingly.
Understanding available options is also important since there are many different ways to save for retirement. From traditional retirement accounts like 401 k and Roth IRA, to annuities the best options depend on your circumstances. Having a financial advisor can help you choose the right options for your needs.
Another way to increase your retirement savings is by investing money. This can be done through stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. As with saving, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to investing; it depends on your goals and risk tolerance. This is another instance where having a financial professional on your side can help you in creating an investment strategy that meets your needs.
Finally, there are different types of insurance you may need or want to consider depending on your retirement savings needs as well as your advisor. Common needs can include:
- Life insurance.
- Health insurance.
- Long-term care insurance.
The type and amount of insurance you need will depend on your unique situation and desires, but ultimately, it is in place to protect you and your family from medical emergencies and the unknown. Learn more about Insurance Options for Retirees and if you’ve sufficently covered your needs.
Other Things to Consider in Your Planning
When is the right time to retire? How will you spend your days? Can you afford a vacation home? Is what you have in your current retirement account enough or will you need to add more to your 401 k? When should you withdraw money to avoid a penalty? The questions can go on and on.
Nailing down your retirement plans certainly is important, but knowing some of the below can help you to avoid bigger issues that can derail your plans down the road.
We’ve talk about saving, but do you have other sources of income available to you during your retirement? Relying on Social Security or a pension income is something many individuals choose to do. However, it doesn’t always mean there will be enough to cover your costs.
That’s where having other income sources available can be beneficial. Multiple streams of retirement income whether a part-time job, rent from a property you may own, or mutual funds from an investment all can contriibute to your financial well-being over time.
Keep in mind, depending on the source, income tax can also be applied to most retirement income streams. Having a tax advisor on your side can help you in taking advantage of tax opportunities as well as incorporating tax planning opportunities into your retirement plans. From including ways to reduce your taxable income through tax-deductible donations or showing you ways to increase pre-tax contributions, finding a tax professional can benefit you during the retirement planning process.
One of the biggest expenses in retirement is healthcare. Medicare is an option available to individuals, but it generally covers only a portion of medical costs. For those with a chronic condition or anticipating the need for long-term care, this can be especially challenging. Factoring in those costs into your plan is one you may want to remember to include.
Health savings accounts are another viable option. According to a study by Fidelity, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2022 will need $315,000 to cover medical expenses throughout their retirement. Start saving now for medical care so you’re not blindsided by them later.
Housing is another major expense in retirement. For homeowners this means there’s a need to factor in property taxes, insurance, as well as upkeep. For renters, the cost of rent can increase over time depending on where you live or who the landlord is.
Inflation can be the silent retirement killer. Over time, the cost of living goes up while your fixed income stays the same. This means your purchasing power decreases over time. To combat this, invest in assets that will keep up with or exceed inflation, such as mutual funds or traditional IRAs. This way, you’ll be able to maintain your standard of living despite rising costs.
People are living longer these days thanks to advances in medicine and healthcare. This is good news! But this increase in the average life expectancy also means you need to plan for a longer retirement than previous generations. While many dream of early retirement, the size of your retirement savings can affect your retirement date as you’ll need to make sure you have enough saved so that you can enjoy a lengthy and comfortable retirement.
Get Ready. Get Planning.
Whether you’re young or nearing retirement, thinking about your golden years should be an exciting time! Retirement planning is an important process everyone should go through. And while creating a plan may seem like a daunting task, if you start well before retirement age, you’ll have enough time to check your plan and ensure you’re set up for financial independence in retirement.
Protect your retirement fund with vehicles such as life insurance, and be sure to estimate social security benefits, healthcare, housing costs, inflation, and longevity are all things you’ve considered. By taking the time to create a sound retirement plan, you can rest assured knowing that you have a blueprint in place to live your retirement dreams later on down the road.
Remember, it’s not as scary as it may seem. There are plenty of resources available to help you get started. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact the professionals at Kaizen Wealth Management.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning for your future today!