The good news about retirement is that advances in science, technology, and living standards have led to longer life expectancies. This means that you can expect longer retirement years than previous estimates indicated. This allows for more time with family and friends and time to achieve those lifelong aspirations.
You should remember to include your family in your planning. It is important that they know your wishes, especially in regard to topics such as long-term care. They will also be a great resource for further information and, more important, of support.
By planning, you may avoid some of the pitfalls that many retirees of today face, and you will have a greater probability of a comfortable retirement.
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One of the greatest risks for you as a person retiring today is considered to be the danger that you may outlive your assets. This is because of several factors: inflation, increased longevity, hyperinflation of medical expenses, and the costs of long term care if you survive into your 80's and 90's. Unlike Social Security, your pension benefits from the Trust do not automatically increase with inflation. So, you need to carefully determine how long you can financially support your desired lifestyle in retirement. You may want to get professional assistance in making this determination from someone like a Certified Financial Planner or other financial professional.
As you make withdrawals from your retirement savings, carefully plan to do so in a way that minimizes your taxes. Withdrawals from tax-advantaged accounts (401/IRA, SEP, KEOGH, etc.) may be arranged so that they take advantage of continued tax free build up. Withdrawals are generally taxable events, and it is usually best to delay and minimize such withdrawals as much as possible.
Periodically review how your assets are allocated between various categories such as stocks, bonds, real estate and savings accounts. Studies have shown that investors have a "short memory" and invest as if the economy of the last 1-3 years will continue into the indefinite future. However, since it is likely that both inflation rates and investment returns will vary considerably over the course of your retirement, it pays to have the assets which are under control diversified in a prudent way. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, and don't assume that inflation will remain moderate forever.
Coordinate the receipt of your Social Security with your plans for any work after retirement and other sources of income. The assistance of a financial professional may help you to figure the optimal time to begin taking Social Security given your individual circumstances. Note that the age at which you can draw unreduced social security ranges from age 65 to age 67 based on your date of birth.
As you plan how you will spend your time in retirement, consider part-time work and volunteer work, but be aware of the rules affecting your pension if you return to work in covered employment. Part time work can be very helpful in preserving your retirement assets.
Financial planners recommend that if you have not already done so, that at retirement you should update a number of personal plans and documents. Here is a checklist of some items which you may need to update, revise, or consider: