What I wish I had known before retirement
Key considerations for establishing and nurturing your retirement plans.
By Michael Steigerwalt, Financial Professional,
It is never too early or (too late!) to start planning for retirement. One pandemic lesson you can learn is that life is unpredictable. That is why retirement planning is a long-term game; the farther ahead you are on the scoreboard, the less likely it is that one bad call can affect the outcome. But whatever stage in life you are in, it is never too late to get started.
According to a recent Wells Fargo survey,1 very few people are mapping out their retirement plans, with just 20 percent of those surveyed saying they have done the detailed calculations to determine how much income they will need in retirement. More than half of those surveyed (48 percent) are unsure or have not thought about how much money they will need during their retirement years.
There is more to retirement planning than just money.
You’ll spend 10, 20, or 30 years (if you’re lucky) saving for your retirement. You’ll calculate a budget and create targeted savings goals that should allow you to retire with confidence in knowing that those years will be financially comfortable as well. It’s likely one of the largest financial endeavors of your life, but don’t let your financial planning overshadow the personal planning that needs to take place, as well. How will you spend your time in retirement? Do you have goals that include travel or mastering a new skill? Your savings may outline your retirement plan, but you get to decide the path to a fulfilled life you planned for.
There are different ways to retire.
Something to think about: Are you planning to work part-time or would you rather not work at all during your “golden years”?
Are you planning to work part-time or would you rather not work at all during your “golden years”? Many people choose to continue working for the sheer purpose of being busy, and therefore, full-time, part-time, and consulting roles are all options you may desire. Having an idea regarding how to spend your free time during retirement is quite instrumental in your perception of success, and is a very personal matter for everyone. Life events may happen that prevent you from choosing when to retire, or “go out on your terms,” so this is a crucial reason to create a well devised plan that maps out different retirement age scenarios and projected unforeseen costs. A financial planner or advisor can help you with this.
Many retirees are surprised by the costs they face in their retirement years, with health care costs leading the charge. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed say health care costs have been higher than expected in retirement, 45 percent say their total health care costs are just what they expected, and just nine percent say they have been lower than expected. About one quarter of retirees stated that living expenses and taxes have been higher than expected after they retire.
5 things to consider when planning for retirement
First, create a financial plan as early in your career as possible, so that you won’t have to guess about what it will take to become financially secure. Your retirement planning should take into account your values and goals, your risk tolerance, your goal retirement age and the lifestyle you want.
Second, once you have established how you would like your retirement to look, calculate how much to save and how long you’ll need to get to that number. Working with a professional will provide you with clarity about what to get to your goal. Your plan should include the amount of income expected from your investments, retirement savings, and other income sources.
Third, take advantage of an employer-sponsored retirement program that will allow you the freedom to decide how much money to contribute per paycheck. Start small if you need to, and as your salary increases, increase your contributions accordingly.
Fourth, missing out on compounding interest by spending rather than saving makes for poor spending decisions. You should be aware that the earning power of compound interest is based on time, so initial delay in saving for the future could have severe consequences. Opening a retirement account such as a Roth IRA, is so vital in your early years so that compounding of interest can be maximized over the years.
Fifth, live your life to the fullest! It is not always about money, either. As the years pass by, and people settle into the day to day of their retirement, many people regret that they missed out on valuable family time because they didn’t properly prioritize a healthy work/life balance. As the days become weeks, and the weeks become months, we run the risk of realizing that we missed such valuable time where we could’ve nurtured family relationships. Saving for retirement should not be at the expense of living life with your family.
The Life You Will Live
Finally, doing a job that you love, with all the rewards that it has to offer, will create a fulfilled life and a solid base from which to design your retirement around. And who knows? Perhaps your passion for the work you’ve done during your working years will carry over well into your retirement years.
The goal is financial freedom, after all, and what could be more rewarding than knowing that your planning has created the life that you will live in retirement?
Contact us to discuss planning an effective retirement strategy
About Michael Steigerwalt
Michael Steigerwalt is a founding partner of WealthScope Financial, a Financial Strategizing group that specializes in working with medical professionals.
Before forming WealthScope Financial with his business partners, Glenn C. Breslauer and Michael Engler, Michael spent years working with residency programs and helping medical professionals create personalized financial strategies. His comprehensive approach delves into several key areas, including, but not limited to: developing investment strategies; creating tax-efficient means of wealth accumulation, distribution and transfer; and protection management. Michael holds Series 6 & 63 FINRA securities registrations, as well as, life and health insurance licenses.
Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. Penn Mutual and its subsidiaries do not issue or advise with regard to student loans. Registered Representative of Horner, Townsend & Kent (HTK). 161 Washington Street, Suite 700, Conshohocken, PA 19428. 610-771-0800. Securities products offered through HTK, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Professional of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. HTK is a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn Mutual. WealthScope Financial is not an affiliate or subsidiary of HTK or Penn Mutual. 2021-123105 Exp 06/23