Retirement can be an exciting point in life. A retiree can stay up late watching TV and turn the alarm clock off and sleep in. The retiree can look forward to fun vacations and travel when it gets cold here in Northwest Ohio or just taking the grandchildren to the local park. At the same time, retirement can be scary for some people because it is an area of unknown. The biggest unknown for most retirees is wondering if they have enough money to last the rest of their lifetime. Trying to figure it out can be confusing. Yet, retirement income planning can be broken down into different steps.
The first part is to review reliable income and expenses by creating a budget. I know doing a budget is no fun but figuring out how much reliable income you will have in retirement and what the monthly expenses are is an item every retiree must know. Take the total expenses and minus your reliable retirement income. Reliable retirement income is typically made of up pensions and social security. If there is a gap in essential income, consider adding money to more reliable income sources, an annuity could be one example. If you need an outline to create a budget, just do a search on the internet for “personal budget worksheet,” and several results show up for free. We can also help you create your budget in the retirement planning software we use.
Your minimum monthly income needs should be covered by reliable income sources, your risky assets should be used for the extra fun stuff.
A retiree should also look for ways to lower expenses while they are reviewing their budget. Look at the big expenses first. For example, if a retiree is paying $1,000 a month for a mortgage that has only $25,000 left on principal, it may make sense to just take part of the investment savings and pay off the mortgage to free up the monthly $1,000 payment. That same can be true if the person has several high interest credit cards. It sometimes is best to just eliminate this debt to free up cash flow. In general, a common theme we have seen with many retirees that are comfortable in retirement is they are debt free. Once the big expenses are reviewed, try and reduce the little ones a well. That old gym membership that never gets used, the cell phone, TV, and internet plan, they all add up.
Try to maximize your monthly cash flow by eliminating certain debts and expenses.
The next part is to build into the retirement income plan getting pay raises in the future. The cost of living is going to go up and the increases in social security and pension benefits may not keep pace with inflation. One way to do this is to create a specific purpose for each of the investment accounts and set aside money in different buckets that mature at different time frames. This is also sometimes called laddering out the portfolio. Consider creating buckets of money that are to be used in 3 to 5 year time frames. One bucket of money for current income, one bucket of money that will be used in 3 to 5 years, another bucket of money that will be used in 6 to 10 years, etc. Using this approach can help the retiree with picking different investments for each bucket. It also allows the retiree to set aside more money for peak spending years when income needs could be higher than later in life when people tend to slow down.
Learn more about how our Independent Income System can help create buckets of money for retirement income needs.
The final part in retirement income planning is to look at how much income the surviving spouse will have if the other spouse passes away. The planning starts by picking the correct pension option and having a plan in place to cover any shortfalls, such as a loss of one of the Social Security incomes. One solution to cover any additional income needs is to purchase the correct amount of life insurance. Life insurance can be a great option because the owner can change beneficiaries in the future, say to children, or cancel the insurance in the future if there is no longer a need. Another option to consider is annuity income guarantees. Options vary from company to company and from different products, such as fixed, indexed, or variable.
If you’re planning to retire in the next few years, Social Security will be the cornerstone of your reliable income. Did you know that roughly 70% of retirees take Social Security income before full retirement age and take a life penalty? Our team know how you can incorporate Social Security into your plan and use it to your advantage in retirement. Ask our office about a Social Security Optimization report.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a pension, you need a plan for it. That includes any settlement needs such as single life, survivorship options, and lump sum choices. We know how you can use your pension to make your retirement years your best years.
Running out of retirement savings is the #1 fear of many retirees. It makes sense – if you’re no longer working, you no longer have an avenue to make more income and build your savings back up if they become depleted. That means defense is your best offense. We can show you options to help protect your retirement savings and give you added peace of mind in retirement.
Annuities can be one of the most helpful resources for retirement income planning. Yet, annuities are very confusing and there are pro’s and con’s. There are lots of choices you can make regarding annuities, and our team is capable of giving you all the info you need on each option to make an informed decision.
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