On today’s episode of the Wiser Roundtable Podcast, the team goes over 5 steps to have financial success in retirement. Each step will be discussed in further detail in the weeks to come, so follow our series for more discussion on these simple yet effective strategies.
You want to have a clear picture of what your retirement income goals are, as well as how they correlate to your current budgetary needs. Understanding your cash flow and calculating how much you will need to last you through retirement is crucial to achieving continued financial success. Determine overall expenses as they pertain to your essential needs (i.e., food, clothing, housing, transportation, healthcare). Next, you want to factor in your discretionary items (travel, lifestyle expectations, etc.). Finally, you want to account for inflation – our firm estimates the historical average of a 2.25% increase annually. Outlining these two variables will help you get a better understanding of the steps you need to take in order to meet both your essential and discretionary needs as a retiree.
2. Build and Maintain Cash Reserves
During the accumulation phase (working years), you want to have a minimum of 3-6 months’ worth of expenses set aside in your savings account for unanticipated changes to your financial situation. In the decumulation phase (retirement years), you want to focus on achieving peace of mind through the creation of a “cash bucket” – two years’ worth of expenses set aside in cash-like security. Having enough cash to weather any economic storm allows you to continue participating in the market while staying protected from economic downturn.
3. Maintain Investing Discipline
While it may seem simple, focusing on continued discipline throughout your retirement years is important if you want to achieve financial freedom. Fear is a powerful motivator, so be vigilant in maintaining a diversified portfolio. Fixed income securities, while seemingly a “low-risk/steady-return investment,” will not provide you with the kind of funds needed to account for annual inflation, rising healthcare costs, and desired flexibility throughout retirement. Keeping stocks in your portfolio and rebalancing, as needed, will combat these added costs.
4. Avoid Carrying Debt
Whether it’s a car loan, mortgage, credit card debt or otherwise, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to avoid carrying any debt into retirement. Our firm encourages all clients to aggressively pay down their mortgage prior to reaching retirement. In doing so, you allow yourself to circumvent continued interest payments. Knowing that your home and/or automobile(s) are paid for provides you with a deepened sense of financial peace.
5. Maximize Social Security
It’s not just when – it’s how. Maximizing social security by knowing when to start collecting, how to collect and when to spend can be complicated but knowing how to successfully navigate this territory will increase your ability to enjoy retirement. While eligible at age 62, it’s not the best course of action. If claimed prior to your full retirement age (65 or 66), social security amounts are reduced in totality. Deferment (up until age 70) can provide you with an additional 8% annually, so be strategic! Over the coming weeks, our team will dive even deeper into each of these 5 steps to financial success in retirement, so stay tuned for more insightful input.
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