According to a recent survey, 46% of American households are at riskThe probability that an investment will decline in value in the short term, along with the magnitude of that decline. Stocks are often considered riskier than bonds because they have a higher probability of losing money, and they tend to lose more than bonds when they do decline. of not being able to cover essential expenses in retirement. We don’t want yours to be part of that statistic. Retiring is a major milestone, and it requires not only financial preparedness but emotional readiness. To make sure you are prepared to meet this goal, check out our five steps below:
- Understand Your Social Security Benefits: Social Security is the number one topic pre-retirees ask our financial planners about. An essential first step to becoming fully informed is creating an account at ssa.gov to get an estimate of what your Social Security benefits will look like. Exactly when you choose to begin taking Social Security will impact your income throughout your retirement—retire early and you’ll face penalties that could cost you thousands; delay a little longer than the standard retirement age and you can reap substantial benefits. Before you start taking your benefits, talk to your adviser about how to strategically maximize Social Security as part of your retirement income.
- Have a Health Care Strategy: Enrolling in Medicare when you reach age 65 is crucial, but there’s more to health care in retirement than that. If you plan on retiring before 65, how will you bridge the gap between employer coverage and Medicare? Will Medicare be sufficient for your needs, or will you need supplemental insurance for items it doesn’t cover? There are many options—tap your wealth management team to help you navigate the complexity.
- Top Up Your Emergency Fund: It’s always wise to hold three to six months’ worth of expenses in a cash account to meet unexpected needs, but it’s especially important as you prepare to retire. Yes, you’ll have your asset base to draw on to meet those expenses. But, ideally, you’ll want to keep that money invested for as long as possible, accumulating compound interest, to help carry you through potentially 25 or 30 years in retirement.
- Revisit Your Financial Plan: A well-built financial plan can provide a roadmap to retirement, but it’s important to course-correct as the day draws near. As you make firm decisions on where and when to retire, it’s worthwhile to review your spending needs, estimate your taxes (especially if moving to a new state or selling your home) and consolidate accounts to get the clearest possible picture of your retirement income. It’s also a good idea to review your investment portfolio and make sure it’s allocated to preserve your assets as you transition into retirement. Reviewing your plan with your adviser will provide peace of mind and allow you to make the adjustments you need to retire according to plan.
- Account for Your Free Time: Many people look forward to having more leisure time in retirement. Far fewer have a plan for what they’ll do with it. The average retiree watches around 40 hours of television per week—for most of us, an enjoyable retirement will require a bit more than adding Disney+ to complement our Netflix subscription. Whether you’re interested in using your professional expertise to be a consultant or devoting more time and money to causes you care about, thinking through the costs and benefits of your new lifestyle is an important part of your retirement plan, both for your bottom line and your peace of mind. Don’t let this be an afterthought.
Please contact your portfolio team if you would like to create or revise your financial plan in advance of retirement. Our team is eager to assist—after all, we are The Planner You Can Talk To.
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