WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT LAST PAYCHECK?
Retirement planning is the process of evaluating your current financial standing and creating a strategy to help ensure that you achieve your desired retirement lifestyle. Basically, that means matching goals with financial realities and focusing on providing a lifetime of income after your last paycheck.
Because one’s retirement years can span decades, retirement planning often takes priority over other financial goals. A successful retirement plan created during your working years should address ways to help maximize income growth and prepare for tax-efficient distributions (i.e., growing your wealth and drawing on it). Specific considerations in a retirement plan might well include IRA rollovers, employer-sponsored plans, executive compensation, and other factors.
Retirement planning is a critical component of wealth management, which means a good retirement plan should be well coordinated with your overall plans for investments, insurance, business, estate and taxation—all implemented with appropriate management of risk.
Your Security Is Our Priority
"Happy 100th birthday! Congratulations are in order. You’ve seen an entire century. Go celebrate! Hope you’ve saved enough to make it another hundred!"
— Elizabeth A. Thorley
If the greeting above comes as a shock to you, consider this: notes like this may be fairly common in just a few decades. As technological innovation and scientific breakthroughs extend the lives of countless Americans, more and more people are living to see triple digits. You might not be planning on living to 100—but we are. Planning for you, at least.
In short, we don’t want you to outlive your assets, lose ground to inflation or withdraw more money than you can afford. Our wealth management planning is designed to strike a balance between meeting your financial goals and needs and protecting you for a future of indeterminate length. Your security is our priority.
Maybe someday down the road you’ll receive a card from us. “Happy 100th birthday,” it will begin. “We’ve saved enough to last a century. Congratulations.” Uncork the champagne.
The Art of Taking Distributions
Yes, we are bold enough to refer to the strategies for drawing on your assets as “an art.”
At first glance, distribution may appear to be a simple matter of, say, selling a particular stock. But determining which assets to liquidate—and when to do so—requires careful analysis of projected returns, income streams, and taxable consequences.
After working for years to save and invest and grow your assets, the time will come to start drawing on your accounts. This is an often-overlooked aspect of financial planning, but it absolutely should not be. Your longevity requires more delicacy and foresight. In short, it requires a process and a wealth manager.
Health Care in Retirement
Increasingly in recent years, the issue of health care has become the “elephant in the room” in retirement planning.
Unfortunately, many people tend to underestimate potential health care costs in their retirement years. Many simply assume that Medicare will take care of all of their medical needs. In reality, it’s estimated that Medicare typically pays only 50 percent of a retiree’s medical cost—and you might be surprised how much money is needed to make up the shortfall.
A 2011 Fidelity Investments study found that a 65-year-old couple should expect to need $230,000 over and above what Medicare provides over their lifetime and should plan to spend $645 per month in health care expenses.
This figure includes the premiums for Medicare Part B (doctor, outpatient, and other expenses) and Part D (prescription drug coverage), as well as Medicare out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles and co-pays. It does not include the cost of long-term care, which, according to a 2011 Genworth Financial survey, averaged about $77,745 annually for a private nursing home room.
It’s important to emphasize that the studies report averages, and individual circumstances may result in costs well above the average. Compounding the problem is that inflation for health care costs is running substantially higher than general inflation.
As wealth managers and financial planners, we strongly recommend dedicating a percentage of your retirement nest egg to medical expenses, lest you severely limit your health care options and access to the best care in retirement.
For more information on retirement, check out Managing Your Money in Retirement, a handy guide that offers a three-step process to see that your financial needs are met.