Whether you are navigating the planning stages of retirement or have already begun enjoying your retirement years, our library of resources can provide answers to your questions about retirement readiness:
The early stages of financial and retirement planning are all about maximizing wealth accumulation by saving, building credit, and investing. All these actions contribute toward a retirement nest egg to draw from. Saving more and borrowing less will contribute to good credit, which can lower interest rates and costs for services such as insurance. This positive feedback loop will allow more investment opportunities, which will help grow your retirement nest egg in the background.
Generally, we have both “wants” and “needs,” and we increase our capacity to save by eliminating wants and focusing on needs. However, some “wants” should always be included in a budget. This helps create fulfillment and joy, which boosts morale in one’s job to produce income in the first place.
Although our focus in retirement generally shifts from accumulation to consumption, accumulation and capital preservation remain important. When considering the consumption of assets, you should consider your abilities and desires will fluctuate throughout retirement. Retirement does not happen all at once, so it is important to rebalance the scales every year. Here is where the focus often falls for retirees during key stages of retirement:
Early retirement – Finishing the big-ticket bucket list items in the first 10-15 years.
During this stage it is time to focus on the “wants” category more than the “needs” category. Because the first decade of retirement likely involves the most active lifestyle, travel will be easier and bucket list items should be a priority.
Required Minimum Distributions from IRAs and qualified retirement plans will start during this time. Choosing a start date for Social Security benefits will affect how much is received each year. Drawing assets from taxable accounts may preserve the tax benefits of IRAs and such for a longer period.
Middle Retirement – Enjoying being a caretaker, and finding new hobbies
This is the stage to fill with hobbies and family. Consider babysitting grandchildren or relatives and developing interests that require less activity and fewer costs—such as painting or gardening.
The vast majority of people prefer to stay in their home as long as possible, which requires planning and foresight. For example, consider installing handrails and walk-in bathtubs, or relocating the bedroom to the first floor. Research senior living facilities for future use, even if a move is not imminent. Many of the more popular facilities have waiting lists, so it is good to start before it becomes a necessity.
This time period will likely require the least funds during retirement, and as the financial needs of retirement become more certain, philanthropy might be considered as one reviews their estate plan. If an annual family meeting to discuss wealth transfer has not started yet, it is a conversation to consider to familiarize everyone with their responsibilities.
Late retirement – Staying social, and taking care of new needs
As we arrive in the later years of retirement, new needs and costs often emerge. Medical costs should be planned for, as needs can spike upward, and assisted living may be required. Those fortunate enough to make it to their nineties may have lost peers along the way. By moving into a senior living facility, they may find social engagements and activities they can participate in and enjoy on a daily basis.
Retirement is a unique and joyous time of life when we can enjoy the fruits of our labor—often referred to as the golden years. However, it can be difficult to know when we are financially and emotionally ready. There can be a lot of unstructured time to fill, new goals to define, and new realizations to discover about oneself. Being proactive can help ensure decisions are made because you want to make them, rather than because you have to make them.
Financial literacy simply means understanding the basics of the tools used to create, protect, and transfer wealth. Learn more about these basics by reading our articles in the table above, or by meeting with one of our client advisors. Arvest Wealth Management Client Advisors can help navigate the path to and through retirement. Our team of experienced professionals can help assess your retirement readiness based on your goals. They can adjust your plan based on the phase of retirement you are in and provide guidance that aligns with your available resources.
This content has been prepared by The Merrill Anderson Company and is intended as a general guideline.
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