When it comes to planning for retirement, peace of mind and relaxation are not the first emotions that come to mind. Though it is peace of mind and relaxation that people are ultimately striving for in their planning efforts.

In our current economic climate there is a great deal of uncertainty about the future of Social Security, Medicare and other retirement vehicles that have begun to weigh heavy on the minds of those approaching retirement age.

One of the top concerns among Baby Boomers is that they will not be able to retire when they want to or need to. This kind of uncertainty compounds the stress that many people often face when they are trying to save and invest enough money for retirement.

Although financial planning cannot prevent the unexpected from happening and cannot guarantee the lifestyle that you want in retirement, it can offer some degree of certainty about the future and, at the very least, establish a framework to keep you organized and on track in your efforts to save successfully. Visualizing your retirement is one way to give yourself peace of mind about how to achieve it.

The five steps outline how you can make the planning process less stressful and more successful.

Goal Setting

Setting goals is not just about how much money you need to make or want to make. Although money is an important factor in goal setting, you must consider the experiences you want to have, the people you want to share your life with, those you might like to support financially (be it a spouse, children or grandchildren) and the lifestyle that you see for yourself and your loved ones in retirement. Being realistic about what that lifestyle will cost is critical and in the following steps you’ll explore how you will take the steps to achieve the goals you have set.

Budgeting

An effective budget can help you plan and track your regular household spending, so you can control your expenses and continue to live within your means. Keeping a close watch on your spending and reducing any debt you might have will help set the stage for living comfortably in retirement. If you find that you are living outside of your means on a monthly basis, then you will need to find areas where you can reduce spending in order to stay on track to meet your goals.

Saving

Budgeting and savings must be mutually inclusive. They need to work hand in hand in order to work. You can only save money that you don’t spend, but making savings a priority in your budget will help you continue to build your nest egg. We often recommend to our clients that putting the savings line item ahead of expenses can help them visualize the importance of savings and think of saving before spending, not the other way around.

Social Security

You may not give Social Security much thought until the day you make your filing decision. But this is not a choice to take lightly, especially when you consider your Social Security filing decision is largely permanent and not reversible. Depending on your financial needs it may be in your best interest to postpone your benefits payout. For those able to postpone their benefits the payout increase is substantial. For married couples, this decision is even more important because it can affect the income of the surviving spouse later in retirement. Prior to taking you social security benefit it is highly recommended that you speak with a professional who can offer guidance or attend a social security seminar that can help you to explore your options independently.

Tax planning

Many retirees find tax time stressful and complicated because they often draw income from different sources that receive different tax treatment. A little simplification can go a long way, and the time to simplify your income is before retirement. Consolidating multiple tax-deferred retirement accounts will help make withdrawals easier when tax times happens down the road.

Confidence and peace of mind about your retirement comes from thoughtful planning and preparation. Guidance from a financial advisor can help as well. A skilled and experienced financial representative can help you work through many of the challenges that makes retirement planning stressful and put you on a smooth path toward the financial future you want to achieve for yourself and your family.


This information is solely for informational purposes. Andersen Wealth Management is a Registered Investment Adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Andersen Wealth Management and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. No advice may be rendered by Andersen Wealth Management unless a client service agreement is in place.