Retirement planning means considering your vision for the future and setting aside funds to bring that dream to reality. For a comfortable retirement, you will need a solid plan to carry you through your golden years and provide the income you need in retirement.
There are many resources available to guide you through this process, and it can be overwhelming to sort through them. So, we’ve compiled some of the most valuable tools that can aid you in planning a successful retirement.
Social Security Resources
Social Security typically replaces between 11% and 35% of preretirement income. The calculations for Social Security Benefits can be somewhat complex, but those who know how to estimate their benefits will have an advantage in developing an effective retirement plan.
The Social Security Administration website is an invaluable resource for those who are working to develop their retirement plan. This site provides several calculators and other written content that can help you to estimate your Social Security benefits and determine an appropriate time to retire.
Keep in mind that retirement planning is an ongoing task. Almost every year, there are changes to Social Security that could impact your retirement plan. For more information on recent changes to the Social Security program and how to plan your Social Security income, use the link below to sign up for our webinar, Social Security: What You Need to Know to Maximize Your Retirement Income. In addition, we’ve compiled some helpful links to help you develop your plan. If you need additional help in planning for your Social Security benefits, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Meld Financial.
Valuable Social Security Planning Resources:
- Webinar: Social Security Planning: What You Need to Know to Maximize Your Retirement Income.
- Retirement Calculators and more at ssa.gov
- Meld University: School of Social Security and Medicare
- What is Your Social Security Full Retirement Age and Why Does it Matter?
- Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment [COLA] for 2023
- 5 Factors That Can Reduce Your Social Security Benefits
- Are Social Security Benefits Taxed?
- Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision & Government Pension Offset
Reaching Medicare age is a major milestone. There are many older individuals who receive health insurance coverage through an employer group insurance plan, however, there will be a point in time when it makes sense to change from the employer sponsored plan to Medicare. That time could be at or before your official retirement, depending on your personal situation. An experienced financial advisor can help you determine the right time to enroll in Medicare.
It is important to note that some individuals are automatically enrolled in Medicare, while others are required to sign up for a Medicare plan to receive benefits. Be aware of enrollment periods as you near Medicare eligibility age. Much like ‘open enrollment’ for insurance carriers, there are certain times of the year when you can enroll or make changes to existing coverage. You have flexibility to choose your Medicare coverage and may be eligible for assistance with your Medicare costs. Speak with a financial advisor to confidently approach making this change.
For more information on recent changes to the Medicare program and how to plan your Medicare benefits, use the link below to sign up for our webinar, Medicare Planning: What You Need to Know to Manage Costs and Avoid Late Filing Penalties. In addition, we’ve compiled some helpful links to help you develop your plan. If you need additional help planning for your Medicare benefits, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Meld Financial.
Valuable Medicare Planning Resources:
- Webinar: Medicare Planning: What You Need to Know to Manage Costs and Avoid Late Filing Penalties
- Medicare.gov website
- Meld University: School of Social Security and Medicare
- Changes to Medicare Start Dates in 2023
- 2023 Medicare Premiums and Coinsurance Amounts
- Medicare – Are You Paying Too Much Premium?
- Medicare Late Enrollment Fees and How to Avoid Them
- Avoid These 7 Common Medicare Mistakes
- When am I Eligible for Medicare Benefits?
Financial Wellness is a Critical Component of an Effective Retirement Plan
The most important step to achieving financial wellness is an effective retirement plan. One of the first questions that comes to mind when people start planning for retirement is: “How much do I need to retire?”.
With no “one-size fits all” strategy for retirement planning, it can be an intimidating process to undertake alone. Working with an experienced team of financial professionals, like those at Meld Financial, can reduce the stress and anxiety of developing an effective plan.
Consult a Financial Professional to Evaluate Your Financial Health
An experienced financial professional should start by taking stock of your current situation. This means working to understand the totality of your finances. This will allow them to develop a spending, saving, and investing plan designed to meet your goals later in the process.
Once you understand your current situation, continue by thinking about your expenses when you retire. Keep your long-term goals in mind such as travel, providing for family, and downsizing your home. Also consider any additional income that you might have, like Social Security, pensions, or investments.
The final step is to determine your Required Rate of Return™ [RRoR™]. Your RRoR™ is the return you will need to earn on your savings to meet the retirement goals you have set. With this figure, you can choose investments that meet your goals while subjecting you to the lowest amount of risk.
Pay attention to important details in your retirement plan.
As you near retirement, you should be aware of important details, like Required Minimum Distributions [RMD’s], that can heavily impact your plan. RMD’s are minimum withdrawals that must be made annually on most individual retirement accounts once you reach a certain age.
And finally, don’t forget about long-term care expenses that you may incur as you age. Unless you are very close to retirement, it may be quite difficult to predict your exact costs, but with the proper guidance, you can be prepared. For detailed information on this topic, use the link below to sign up for the Meld University Webinar: Preparing for Long-Term Care Expenses in Retirement.
For some people, achieving financial wellness can be straight forward, but for most, this process will be quite complex. One easy way to accomplish all these tasks is working with Meld Financial to develop your Financial Fingerprint™, a comprehensive wealth management plan that is quick to assemble, easy to understand, and simple to modify as your circumstances change. To learn more about Financial Fingerprint™, use the link below to sign up for our Defense Wins Retirement webinar, where we describe the process in detail.
Valuable Resources to Support Financial Wellness:
- Webinar: Defense Wins Retirement: How to Shift Your Strategy From Growth to Income
- Webinar: Preparing for Long-Term Care Expenses in Retirement
- Meld University: School of Financial Wellness
- Financial Fingerprint™ by Meld Financial
- 5 Characteristics of a Quality Wealth Manager
- How much do I need to retire?
- Required Rate of Return – The Key to Your Retirement
- 5 Important Steps to Retirement Planning
- Retirement Planning Pitfalls
- What are Required Minimum Distributions (RMD’s)?
- The 10 Best States for Retirement
- The 10 Worst States for Retirement
Don’t Overlook Taxes
The way your retirement income will be taxed is something you will want to strongly consider. Retirement income is typically subject to some level of taxation, but taxation of Social Security Benefits wasn’t a consideration for retirees until 1983. During that year, legislation was enacted that allowed for taxation of some Social Security benefits. Part of the process for determining how much your Social Security benefits will be taxed is calculating your provisional income.
Why does provisional income matter? Much like the standard income tax system, there are cutoffs for provisional income that affect how Social Security benefits are taxed. Working with an experienced team of financial professionals to understand how your benefits will be taxed is a great way to gain confidence that you are making the right decisions to minimize the taxation of your retirement income.
When planning for taxes, you should also consider how your retirement account distributions are taxed. Some types of retirement accounts delay taxes until retirement while others require you to pay tax in the year you contribute but not when you take distributions. Choosing the right type of retirement account to minimize taxes can be an important step in retirement planning.
Valuable Tax Planning Resources:
- IRS Website (irs.gov)
- Tax Information for Retirement Plans (irs.gov)
- How to Calculate Provisional Income (a.k.a. Combined Income)
- Choosing Between Roth and Traditional 401(k) Contributions
- The 10 Best States for Taxes
- The 10 Worst States for Taxes
Estate Planning is not Just for the Ultra-Wealthy
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in retirement planning is neglecting your estate plan. Although it sounds like an estate plan is only for the very wealthy, that is a common misconception. The fact is, even those with modest assets need a Last Will and Testament.
That’s not the only misconception about estate planning. Many people think they are too young or too healthy to need a Will, but we all need to plan accordingly. So, if you want to be sure your assets are distributed as you see fit, rather than by the rules of your local Probate, make sure you have an estate plan.
If you would like more information on estate planning, use the link below to sign up to attend the Meld University Webinar: Rollover and Play Dead. Does Your Estate Plan Really Work? During this webinar, you will learn how your assets should be titled, the best way to complete your beneficiary designation forms, how to avoid costly and common mistakes, and much more as you review the facts with a Certified Elder Law Attorney.
Valuable Estate Planning Resources:
- Webinar: Rollover and Play Dead. Does Your Estate Plan Really Work?
- Estate Planning Info & FAQS (American Bar Association)
There are many factors that must be considered as part of a comprehensive retirement plan. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the process alone. With an experienced financial advisor, you can ensure your retirement plan covers the most important aspects of your financial life from setting appropriate goals to choosing investments.
Get Your Financial Fingerprint™ at Meld Financial
When the time comes to develop or modify your retirement plan, contact the team at Meld Financial. At Meld, our team of tax, legal, and investment professionals can help you develop your Financial Fingerprint™ – a unique financial planning process developed at Meld through several decades of managing our clients’ wealth.
Your Financial Fingerprint™ is a comprehensive financial plan that is quick to assemble, easy to understand and simple to modify as your circumstances change. It accounts for the most common retirement planning questions like quantifying retirement income and expenses, setting actionable goals, and making appropriate decisions to turn those goals into a reality.
To get started with Financial Fingerprint™, contact us today.