By Marjorie L. Rand, CPA, CFP®, RICP®
Most people think of retirement planning as building a nest egg that they can live on for the rest of their lives. This is their “number” and once they reach it, they are ready to leave their job and live happily ever after. We wish life could be that easy. In reality, planning for retirement involves making major decisions that will affect your finances for decades to come. It also involves considering the risks you may face over a 30- or 40-year retirement, such as outliving your nest egg, inflation, stock market risk, low interest rates and tax law changes.
There are several key decisions you will need to make when you retire such as how to withdraw your pension, when to claim Social Security and how to pay for long-term care, to name a few. It helps to have guidance from a fiduciary financial advisor when you are considering these issues.
And how do you navigate the risks you may encounter throughout your retirement years? Here are some things to think about. First, while it is best to start saving for retirement when you are in your 20s or 30s, retirement planning is most beneficial in the five to ten years prior to your retirement date. This gives you time to make changes that will improve your success in meeting your goals. Second, you will need to run projections and stress tests on your portfolio to see how adverse conditions could affect your retirement. This analysis will be helpful in determining how ready you are for retirement and will help you plan a realistic retirement date. Planning ahead of time makes you feel more confident, knowing you are considering all the necessary factors and making thorough decisions.
Even after you retire, there are quite a few strategies you can use to extend the life of your investment portfolio. Since one of your largest expenses in retirement will be taxes, it pays to consider tax-saving strategies. For example, having a portfolio withdrawal strategy can be very beneficial in minimizing your taxes over the long run.
If you are thinking of retiring in the next ten years or if you are already retired, consider hiring a fiduciary financial advisor who can help you chart your course toward a safe and successful retirement. Rand Financial Planning, LLC, is an independent, fiduciary, fee-only financial planning firm that focuses on tax-efficient retirement planning. We offer ongoing investment advice and financial planning to clients approaching retirement and in retirement.