When considering retirement, it's normally influenced by the goal to finally get out of the work force, quit that job, sell that business, or move to a place you really want to live long term! These are all great motivations and goals to have with your life, but it's important to include a few more steps before taking the leap.
Up until now, it probably has been pretty easy to cover the monthly bills. You may have had a reliable pay check that is more than the monthly expenses, so you didn't give it much thought. That must change before retiring. It's imperative to create a spreadsheet or list of every monthly expense you anticipate in retirement. This includes all the necessities, debt payments, and any leisure spending you anticipate. Also make sure to include any maintenance costs that will arise in retirement for vehicles, and your house if you own.
Without a clearly defined baseline, you can't properly plan your financials for retirement. We have an example of this in our retirement guide that you can find here!
2. Income Planning
Once you have a list of every monthly expense in retirement, we can determine what monthly income is required. At a minimum we want to ensure there are monthly income streams to at least cover these expenses. If there is a gap between the expenses and your expected income, then a portion of your retirement assets will need to be utilized to create additional income. Take into consideration you pension if you have one, social security and how much you can expect monthly, as well as interest and dividends.
It's important to understand how much consistent monthly income you can rely on in retirement to tackle that list of bills. There are various ways you can fill any income gaps. This includes annuities, interest from debt securities, and dividends from equities. Also, if you have a pension as a federal or state employee, consider all the different payout options as well as the lump sum selection. See which will be the best fit for your specific income need.
3. Investment Planning
After you have taken the time to formulate a plan for your expenses, and create a reliable income in retirement, we must consider your retirement assets. How you invest and allocate these funds can be the difference between a comfortable retirement, and barely getting by. It's crucial to consider risk, liquidity, and inflation overtime. You don't want to be too conservative for fear of taking any losses. In this scenario, inflation will most likely erode your savings overtime. You also don't want to take excessive risk as you won't expect future paychecks to make up for those big losses. This is where strategy and proper planning will come into play to develop a portfolio of investments that is best suitable for you. You can create these on your own with some research and education, or you can outsource to a financial planning team to handle the asset management for you.
Retirement should be something we all look forward to. It should be time to live on your own terms, experience new things, and avoid the financial stresses from the past! In order to do this effectively remember our 3 steps....proper budgeting, creating reliable monthly income, disciplined investment strategies for the long term. If these are done correctly, you have a very good shot at an incredible retirement!
“Don’t simply retire from something; have something to retire to.”
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