You wouldn't play golf without a full set of clubs. Don't go into retirement without a fully equipped retirement toolbox. Retirement brings the freedom to explore a new stage of life. But for many, after years of working for others, it also means assuming responsibility for generating a paycheck for decades. Having a few basic resources at hand can make it easier to navigate the challenges that come with retirement.
A recent Wall Street Journal article, titled "Have the Right Tools for Retirement," says you need a full set of golf clubs to play the game as intended. Similarly, you need a full set of retirement tools to ensure that you are planning wisely. These should include all of the following:
- a realistic budget and an efficient plan for withdrawing money from savings;
- an experienced accountant;
- a qualified attorney;
- a portfolio of investments that meet your cash needs and is comfortable as far as risk of loss;
- up-to-date estate-planning documents; and
- a nonfinancial plan for staying engaged during retirement.
A retirement plan needs a strong foundation. That's the budget, with expenses on one side of the ledger and income from sources such as Social Security, pensions and savings on the other. Look at your spending habits before retirement and take time to see how a planned budget matches actual spending. Make sure to include infrequent expenses like annual insurance premiums that may not show up on your latest bank statement. It might also include a new car, roof repairs, or dental bills.
Even before retirement, experts say you should transition your investment portfolio to one that matches both income needs and the means to withstand unforeseen market declines, as there won't be a paycheck to make up the difference.
It's said that many people spend their working years rarely meeting with an attorney and often do not heed any financial advice. Even for basic estate-planning documents, you should use an attorney who is experienced in drawing up wills, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents. Updating planning documents is very important. This includes a will, power of attorney, a health-care proxy, and possibly a trust. Beneficiaries on retirement accounts and insurance also should be updated.
Read this comprehensive article and map out your strategy with a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney. No need to end up in the rough and get a bogie!
Reference: Wall Street Journal (January 25, 2015) "Have the Right Tools for Retirement"