If you’re a decade or so away from retirement, you’ve probably spent at least some time thinking about this major life change. How will you manage the transition? Will you travel, take up a new sport or hobby, or spend more time with friends and family? Should you consider relocating? Will you continue to work in some capacity?
When you begin to ponder all the issues surrounding the transition, the process can seem downright daunting. However, thinking about a few key points now, while you still have years ahead, can help you focus your efforts and minimize the anxiety that often accompanies the shift.
Reassess your living expenses. A step you will probably take several times between now and retirement- is thinking about how your living expenses could or should change. For example, while commuting and other work-related costs may decrease, other budget items may rise. According to a recent survey, 47% of retirees said their healthcare expenses were higher than expected in retirement, while 37% of retirees said their other expenses were higher than expected.
Consider all your income sources. First, figure out how much you stand to receive from Social Security. The amount you receive will depend on your earnings history and other unique factors. You can elect to receive retirement benefits as early as age 62, however, doing so will result in a reduced benefit for life. If you wait until your full retirement age or later, your benefit will be higher. Next, review the accounts you’ve earmarked for retirement income, including any employer benefits. Start with your employer-sponsored plan, and then consider any IRAs and traditional investment accounts you may own. Try to estimate how much they could provide monthly. Do you have rental income? Be sure to include that in your calculations.
Pay off debt, power up your savings. Why pay off debt? Entering retirement debt-free- including paying off your mortgage- will put you in a position to modify your monthly expenses in retirement if the need arises. Why power up your savings? In these final few years before retirement, you’re likely to be earning the highest salary of your career. Why not save and invest as much as you can in your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan and/or IRAs? Aim for maximum allowable contributions. And remember, if you’re 50 or older, you can take advantage of catch-up contributions, which enable you to contribute an additional $6,500 to your 401(k) plan and an extra $1,500 to your IRA in 2019.
There are just some of the factors to consider as you prepare to transition into retirement. Breaking the bigger picture into smaller categories and using the years ahead to plan accordingly may help make the process a little easier.
-S. Joey Elmore
Vision Financial Group, Inc.
4505 Pine Tree Circle, Birmingham, 35243
Investment Advisory Services offered through Investment Advisors, a division of ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through ProEquities, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA & SIPC. Vision Financial Group, Inc. is independent of ProEquities, Inc. Copyright 2006-2019 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.