Retirement: Have You Started Planning
Article By | Debbie Bloyd
There are so many things you need to consider as you approach retirement. Waiting until the last minute without a plan is a BAD idea. I get it, time sneaks up on you and it is really hard to get a handle on the costs of things that you have not thought about. That is why you need to start making a plan today! It doesn’t have to be perfect – the goal is just to get started.
I think one of the mistakes that most people make is that they really don’t want to see the reality of retirement. We all put a lot of time into our careers and we don’t often think about unforeseen accidents or obstacles inhibiting us from working. The reality of life is that sometimes things happen that shorten our working time. We need to be prepared to quit our jobs early due to health-related issues or family issues. Do you plan your vacations? Most people take more time in planning trips than they do on their retirement. I have made family or career plans only to have things change – and I had to be able to zig and zag. It is best not to wait until you have limited choices. We all need to have several ideas on how to stretch our retirement monies. We need the help of people that have been there before. As a financial planner, I have heard many stories, both good and bad, about how people have handled their finances. They have all had one statement in common: “I had not planned for (fill in the blank).” Well as planners, we plan for the good and the bad, which is why you ask for our help! Our best thinking got us to where we are today. I’ve learned that if you are not clear with yourself and you do not force yourself to expand your ideas, you may be left in a retirement that you do not like or want.
Questions to ask yourself and your spouse:
Where will we live?
How much do we have in income from investments?
What monies are we counting on to pay for property taxes, insurance, health insurance?
What happens if our health fails?
Can we liquidate our monies if needed for cash for bills?
How are our investments?
Are they liquid or still invested in the market?
Do we have rental income and properties?
How are we managing those?
I have not had two clients with the exact same idea of what retirement means to them, so I have to listen and ask a lot of questions. Not everyone should be conservative with their investments as they age. I have clients that have an exit strategy but that strategy is passing along their investments to their kids and their adult children are just going to put it back in the market – so why get out at all? Some don’t and reap the benefits.
I have clients with real estate holdings that will sell off properties one at a time as they need them to pay for health care costs or provide for grandchildren’s education. You can’t take it with you – so make it count while you can.
One issue that comes up a lot is not having enough to live the way you want in retirement. When this is a concern I usually talk to clients about reverse mortgages and withdrawing from investments to get the income that they need. The goal is to see all of your options before you don’t have any. Waiting is not good – so talk often and make plans. Talk to a financial advisor. Talk with your adult children while you have time to make changes – nobody likes surprises. Get out of the dark and into these conversations before it’s too late.