Retirement is a tricky thing, one day you feel good about it as you will be relaxing, finally, and the other day you feel worried about your finances. But people who plan for their retirement beforehand may have little or nothing to worry about.
7 Steps to Retirement Planning to a Safe and Secure Future
Retirement planning is a continuous process, and you would have to try to foresee things. Although, no one can predict everything and it will be better to try to be close enough can do some benefit.
Many people are too scared to retire because they are worried about how things will go when they cut that income off. However, retirement planning is not hard science, and following these 7 steps may let you secure a future.
1. Retirement Planning – Assess your Financial Situation
First of all, make an inventory of all your current assets, liabilities, incomes, and expenses. You can sit with your retirement planner and estimate what your responsibilities and expenses would be. When you’ve retired, some expenses may stay the same, like groceries and insurance, and others.
However, some expenses may increase like travel costs, vacation costs, and spending less on growing-up kids. Some expenses would also be taken care of by pension and social security. Highlight your worries and questions that haunt you at night and discuss them with your planner.
2. Calculate the Value of Your Assets and Liabilities
Here are a few tips on how to calculate the value of your current assets.
- Write down the current amount in each of your accounts where you keep cash and liquid savings. These include checking, savings, and money market accounts and certificates of deposits.
- If you have saving bonds, then calculate and determine the current value or call the bank to find out the current value.
- Call your agent and find out the cost of your whole life policy also.
- Invested in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, then check the value on financial websites or from your last statement.
- Use the current value of your house and other real states.
- List the current value of your pension, IRAs, or other retirement plans you have in mind. Try to know the value if you decide to get them cashed today.
- Keep other assets such as business and rental property in mind too.
- The balance of the mortgage on your house is a monthly liability.
- Keep all other mortgages or home equity loans in mind as well.
- Record the balance due on credit cards, installments, loans, and investment accounts.
- List all the current and over-due bills you owe. These include utility bills, doctors, dentists, telephone, water, gas, property tax, etc.
3. Know What You Want
We all want so much that we confuse ourselves with so many things. Make up the list of the things you think must be in your lifestyle after your retirement. Consider everything that may even seem small to you so that you would be prepared for it.
Are you aware of how much money would you need to retire and live comfortably?
Well, research says that you need to replace 70-90 percent of your pre-retirement income. It helps you to estimate your target based on your current income. Although it is a rough estimate, and keeping this in mind allows you to be on track. Maintaining factors such as vacation habits, medical expenses, house rent will have a substantial impact on how much you need to save.
If you can save the right amount of money for retirement, then you will also have options for living the kind of life you want. Proper retirement planning lets you overcome any barriers and constraints, and add to the leisure of the golden retirement period. You might even also have enough to leave something for your next generation. Don’t be scared to aim high!
4. Cash Flow Planning
Present value is significant for your retirement planning. It is the amount of money you need in your account today to plan and save for your future. Many people work with their financial advisors or their retirement planners and make individual retirement accounts to prepare for their retirement. You can do so while planning before and after retirement.
Planning Before Retirement
It is almost impossible to start any retirement planning without budgeting. Your budget is an essential part of your cash flow planning both before and during retirement. It is an essential analysis that one should necessarily do to determine how much cash is needed to maintain the lifestyle you and your family are used to living.
Once your budget is in place, it should be reviewed annually to determine if the addition and subtractions are changing the planned budget or if any other adjustments are needed. A budget will also help to protect your long-term and retirement savings.
- Emergency Fund
Let’s face it, unexpected financial problems can arise anytime, and it’s not easy to avoid them too. So, it’s always a good idea if we have some savings to help you with your inevitable needs.
Your emergency fund should be set aside in a liquid manner because you never know what time or situation you might need those. The total amount needs to be decided by you and your family, and it should be at your comfort level. Some people might agree on having $10,000 or $20,000, whereas some people would want to put a higher amount for their emergency funds.
- Risk Management
One area that is often overlooked in retirement planning is risk management. People usually focus on saving money for retirement. However, they forget to keep risk management in their minds. Risk management includes car insurance, house insurance, short-term and long-term disability, and health insurance. You need to make policies regarding these and should be monitored, reviewed, and updated as needed.
Planning During Retirement
During retirement, your plan should again start with budgeting. Your income will be changing after retirement, so it is essential to monitor your cash flow throughout retirement.
Budgeting after retirement does not only mean keeping a check on the flow of cash. In fact, it also involves analyzing all your expenses throughout the year. It lets you identify places where you can use other or less expensive substitutes or how to plan a significant expenditure.
Tax planning is a massive ordeal for some retired people. It takes up a lot of planning regarding analyzing the sources of funds. It allows you to maintain your lifestyle and hence you need to keep your tax consequences in mind.
Different types of accounts have different types of tax consequences when funded or get withdrawn. Retirement savings or qualified accounts are taxed as ordinary income levels. Non-qualified accounts are taxed with capital gains levels.
When specific funds are needed to maintain a lifestyle during retirement, it is essential to keep the tax consequences of the accounts funding your retirement.
Taxes should not be the only consideration when making your retirement planning. Instead, it should be combined with other aspects of your overall financial planning.
- Estate Planning
While necessary estate planning is a critical component before retirement, but post-retirement planning has a more important role in managing real estate. You need to determine what you and your family would like to settle for.
What is crucial is that the approach to estate planning should be similar to your attitude towards risk management. Your estate plan should be reviewed and updated regularly.
5. Invest or Save
It’s entirely okay if you start late as well. The key to expecting success has a positive outlook and understanding that being late is better than never starting!
If you are over 55 years of age, the government offers savings on catch-up contributions so you can get help to save a little bit more. Sometimes, the chances are that savings account and employee pensions are not enough to reach your goals. That’s when you explore investment products.
It is always good to have an investment on your side if you are planning to upgrade your living standard and staying financially sound for long. There are many different ways to save your money, but IRA accounts have proven to be the best. If you do not know about it yet, then search the mighty internet for guidance.
Create a diversified portfolio of savings accounts, investments, stocks, bonds, property, and insurance that can all contribute to benefit you.
6. Make Strategies to Maximize Your Social Security Income
Social security is likely to remain an essential part of your retirement planning, and it is essential to maximize this benefit.
To maximize the benefits of social security, you need to sit with your retirement planner and make effective strategies for collecting social security. The age at which you decide to withdraw funds will also have an impact on your lifetime savings.
You can start receiving from the age of 62. Moreover, the more you wait, the more you will be paid. If you wait till 70 years of age, your payment will increase up to 77%.
Another important thing that you should be aware of is if you’re eligible for more than just your own retirement benefits! You might also be eligible to claim “spousal” or even “survivor” benefits, if you are married, divorced, or widowed.
Although, these are based on your records with your spouse, whether they are dead or alive.
Remember not to file for two or more types of benefits at once. Chances are you will lose one of them if you file for both simultaneously. Make strategies to claim the smaller one first, and later on the larger one.
Social security uses the best 35 years of your working life to calculate your monthly earnings. If you have worked less than 35 years, you should keep working. This will also help you to bump some of your lower earning years.
7. Check and Repeat
The most important thing to keep in mind while doing retirement planning is to focus on your savings. It needs to be updated and changed as needed. Review your retirement plan annually. Nothing is set in stone and strong and stable planning leads you to live a happy retirement life. All you need is to put yourself in a position to be successful and organized.
Retirement is a life transition process. Just like other major life transitions, retirement requires you to adapt and grow. It might involve some sad moments for you like leaving your workplace, workmates, moving houses, having ups and downs, being short on money, etc.
However, these grieve moments don’t last forever! The efforts that you make before and during retirement to have a balanced life will help to ensure that your retirement is a smooth and pain-free process.
Although the act of retirement happens in a day, or a week. In fact, the retirement process is taking place over the years before your actual departure. Retirement cannot be successful overnight and it requires in-depth planning and preparation.
Your retirement plan might even change at some points in life, depending on your interests, activities, and health fluctuations.
Trust yourself that you will adjust to retirement, relax and enjoy!