This article’s focus is on the first 5 of 10 rules for a comfortable retirement lifestyle. Most people want to enjoy a good life through the length of their adult years while building a retirement nest egg to sustain them into their 90s, and also leave a legacy for their families. Achieving this goal isn’t horribly difficult if you follow some basic rules and “keep your wits about you” as Filch advises Harry Potter.
Here are the first five suggestions for achieving an anxiety-free retirement lifestyle.
Rule #1: Many people like to live the life they can afford before they retire, and then also expect to enjoy a similar lifestyle afterward, though in many cases retirees must live more conservatively. Therefore, there is wisdom in moving your pre-retirement lifestyle to a level that’s similar to the lifestyle you’ll live in retirement, making the segue easy by preparing yourself emotionally and financially for your new post-work life.
Rule #2: Your Social Security benefits are intended to provide approximately 40% of the income you’ll need during retirement, so it’s up to you to secure the remaining income you’ll need. Remember also that this 40% number is based on a lower income model for average Americans, meaning that if you’re living at a higher level now, Social Security benefits will provide even less of your expectations. Aside from all the rhetoric that the Social Security program may go bankrupt, your Social Security benefits will only contribute a small proportion of the funds you’ll need in the last third of your life. This means you’ll need to figure out how to provide additional sources of income.
Rule #3: It’s very important that you have an estate plan so you can provide for your spouse and other family members who are depending on you, should you die prematurely or become incapacitated and unable to support your loved ones. Your estate plan should include a will, and possibly insurance policies and investment income streams. Providing this security for your loved ones is a priority.
Rule #4: As you begin to develop your thinking about retirement, an important topic is considering if it’s wise for you to relocate to another part of the country. While you may enjoy winter sports now, will you be preferring a warmer climate in your 80s? Perhaps you’ll want to move closer to other family members, or downsize your home so you have less yard-work, or won’t have to climb stairs when you get older.
Rule #5: Always pay careful attention to the emails or printed material sent to your physical mailbox from people and institutions holding your funds or advising you about your finances. This includes messages from Social Security, your 401(k) plan, pension information from your employer, your stockbroker and insurance providers, etc. Not only do you need to stay informed on a regular basis, but you also must be ready to take action and avoid making a mistake with a deadline or some other requirement that could cause financial damage to your wealth and your options.
These are the first 5 of 10 suggestions for helping you achieve a comfortable retirement lifestyle. Next week we’ll look at the second set of five rules everyone should know and practice.
Financial planning for a relaxed and comfortable retirement should be #1 on your To Do List. Consider making an appointment with us today so we can discuss ways to increase your personal wealth and enhance your retirement.
Joseph M. Maas, CFA, CVA, ABAR, CM&AA, CFP®, ChFC, CLU®, MSFS, CCIM