We all dream of the day when we can retire after decades of hard work. However, dreaming is not the same as doing, and many people are unable to act upon their dreams. It’s never too late or too early to begin planning for retirement. For the best outcome, experts recommend planning as early as possible. This may seem a bit daunting, as we still have to focus on our everyday financial obligations and most people have no idea where to start. However, asking yourself a few simple questions can help get the process moving.
1. What Does Retirement Look Like?
This may be the single most essential question to ask yourself as you begin the retirement planning process. Grab a notebook. Then start jotting down your ideas, desires, and plans for retirement.
- Do you want to travel? If so, where and how often?
- Are you frugal or more liberal when it comes to spending?
- Will you downsize your home?
- Where do you want to live?
- Do you plan to continue working? If so, how much will you work? What will you do?
- What is your current lifestyle? Do you want to continue this lifestyle?
Everyone has unique ideas when it comes to retirement. There is no wrong answer. However, it is important to note that lifestyle is a critical factor. A financial advisor or elder law attorney can help you understand the type of planning required to meet your goals.
2. What Assets Do I Have?
When evaluating your assets, you want to look beyond your retirement funds and bank accounts. Make sure to include any property you own, stock, investments, and items or collections of significant value.
3. How is My Health?
Personal health plays a significant role when retirement planning. The first step in assessing your health is to ensure that you are up to date on any screenings or annual checkups. Once you know where your health stands, you can better address retirement plans. It can affect many different aspects of retirement.
- Will my health come with a financial cost?
- Will my health prevent me from additional income once I retire?
- How will my health affect my quality of life?
- Will my health affect my ability to live independently?
- Does my health allow for the retirement lifestyle I desire? Or do I need to reevaluate?
With health affecting so many aspects of retirement, it may be necessary to reassess and improve your current health habits to improve and live out your best retirement life.
4. When Should I Take Social Security?
While this question is commonly asked, there is no easy answer. It varies from person to person. Generally speaking, the longer you wait to pull social security benefits, the greater the monthly benefit will be. Unfortunately, this might not be a realistic option for most. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully evaluate your expenses to make the most informed decision possible. An attorney specializing in elder law can help.
5. How Can I Save More?
This is a fantastic question for any age group. Saving money is easier said than done, and it takes both discipline and dedication. It’s simple. There are two ways to save money. You can decrease your spending and expenses or increase your income. With either option, more money will be available to add to your retirement fund. Adjusting spending habits now can allow you to live more comfortably in the future. Additionally, cutting expenses can be beneficial when creating a budget for retirement.
6. How Can I Plan for the Unexpected?
While we can plan for the retirement of our dreams, it is not guaranteed that it will become a reality. Unforeseen life events and adverse health problems may arise before or during retirement. These events cause financial strain and can throw off our vision or disrupt our retirement plan. Our loved ones may also be affected by unforeseen circumstances, so it is important to involve them when planning for the worst case. A contingency plan that includes legal and financial considerations can significantly minimize potential problems.
Creating a retirement plan specific to your needs is essential as we age. If planning seems a bit overwhelming, start with the six questions listed above. Then consider seeking the guidance of an attorney and financial advisor to ensure you are informed in all your decision-making and planning. This will significantly reduce the stress that comes along with the intricate process of planning for retirement.
Contact our office at (718) 979-7477 to set up a time to discuss planning opportunities.