Retirement Planning

Ten Tips for a Happy and Secure Retirement

Everyone dreams of a happy and secure retirement… and that’s our goal for you. We want to make sure you are ready for any challenges you may face as you approach your golden years. We all know that the financial markets, healthcare, Social Security and Medicare all face potentially turbulent times. We want to prepare you for retirement and ensure that you do everything you can to put yourself in the best possible position to enjoy your retirement. The following tips can help you to pursue the retirement of your dreams.

TIP #1: Be Disciplined About Spending

It is important as you near your retirement years to take a critical look at your current spending habits. That means getting crystal clear about what you are spending money on now and what you will spend your money on during retirement. Make a budget so you can benchmark your spending. Any unnecessary spending today represents funds that could be put in your savings to further prepare you for retirement.

TIP #2: Equally Disciplined About Saving

Your financial plan is your road map to financial independence. Part of that plan will include meeting an annual savings goal. By meeting these savings goals, you put yourself in position to potentially achieve your retirement goals. It also means that you should never borrow from your retirement plan unless it’s a dire emergency. Treat your retirement funds as a locked vault, not a piggy bank. This money was designed to fund your happy retirement.

TIP #3: Get Rid of Your Debt

As you approach your retirement years it is important that you do your best to eliminate any debt you may have accumulated. By paying off all debts, loans, and other financial obligations in a shorter period of time, you may have a substantial amount to invest for that retirement. We specialize in strategies designed to help you pursue your retirement goals.

TIP #4: Don't Forget About Inflation

As you set forth with your spending plan for your future in retirement, don’t forget about inflation. Inflation can have an impact on everything you purchase from food to gas. While the degree of inflation fluctuates from year to year, you need to expect that over the length of your retirement, it is going to be a factor. By considering a realistic annual inflation rate, you can better prepare yourself to have the spending capabilities you will want and need in retirement.

TIP #5: Manage Your Taxes

It is important to pay attention to the new tax rules and master all the strategies for withdrawing money from an IRA. Remember, not all of the money you’ve placed in a traditional 401(k) and IRA is available for spending in retirement. Income tax will be due on each withdrawal. Anything that can be done to reduce taxes can potentially give you more money to spend. By spacing out withdrawals, you can help minimize your tax bills. You must also remember to take the required minimum distributions after age 70½ to avoid a tax penalty.*

TIP #6: Manage Your Investments

Be sure to regularly review your investment accounts in detail. Be honest with yourself, and make changes sooner rather than later. Your investment plan will need to be revisited as your priorities change over time. Working closely with a financial advisor can help ensure that your investment strategy is appropriate for what is happening in your life and what you want to happen as you enter retirement.

TIP #7: Consider Future Healthcare Expenses

Keep in mind that the older you get, the more money you may need for health related expenses. You can’t ignore the fact that healthcare costs vary widely, are unpredictable, and are rising, regardless of what you’re spending now. Just as importantly, you won’t have an employer to take care of them for you. Most researchers estimate that healthcare costs will more than double over the next twenty years. This factor is incredibly important to consider as you are estimating your financial needs in retirement. If you remain in good health and don’t need extended healthcare services, you will be happy to have the extra money. If you do need it, you will have the peace of mind knowing it’s available.

TIP #8: Know When to Take Socail Security Benefits

The decision on when to start receiving Social Security benefits will have a huge impact on how much you receive. Starting your Social Security payments at the wrong time can cost you a small fortune since it is dependent upon when you were born. For example, if you are turning 62 between now and 2016, and start your benefits at age 62, you will get 25% less than if you started your benefits at age 66. But if you wait until you are 70 to start taking benefits, you’ll get 132% more than you would if you started at 66! There can be a huge financial plus by delaying your Social Security benefits. Make sure you fully understand exactly when you qualify for the maximum Social Security benefits, what your optimal personal collection strategy is, and when to start.

TIP #9: Review Your Estate Plan

Review your will, power of attorney, and/or your trust. If you don’t have them, get them. These documents can protect you and your assets while you are alive and benefit your spouse and children when you pass on. Effective estate management enables you to manage your affairs during your lifetime and control the distribution of wealth after your death. An effective estate plan will spell out your healthcare wishes and ensure they are carried out – even if you are unable to communicate. It can even designate someone to manage your affairs in the event you are unable to do so.

TIP #10: Get Professional Planning Help

Continued financial health is by far the biggest worry most people have in the years and months leading up to retirement. One of the soundest retirement strategies you can employ is to sit down with a Certified Financial Planner™ to discuss how your income can best support your retirement vision. The truth is - planning for retirement can get complicated and overwhelming very quickly. By getting professional advice and support you can put yourself in a position to potentially create a retirement that meets your long-term dreams and goals. Seeking professional help can help to ensure that your retirement process is more relaxing than taxing.

*This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. Williams Financial Group is not a tax advisor, we suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor. Billy Williams, Registered Representative offering securitiesthrough NYLIFE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPIC), a Licensed InsuranceAgency. 1110 Montlimar Drive, 10th Floor, Suite 1010 • Mobile, AL 36609 •251.460.4606.

*Financial Advisor offering investment advisory services through EagleStrategies LLC, A Registered Investment Adviser. Williams Financial Group, LLCis not owned by NYLIFE Securities LLC or its affiliates.