Retirement Planning Resource Guide

School of Financial Wellness

‘Retirement Guide’ written on a stack of papers with a human hand holding a pen – meant to represent a retirement planning resource guide

Our latest event has concluded, but you can still watch the replay:

Financial Fingerprint: How to Approach Your Retirement Questions presented by William D. Connor, Financial Advisor at Meld Financial.

Join us for our next live Meld University Event:

DEFENSE WINS RETIREMENT™: How to Shift Your Strategy From Growth to Income presented by Kyle Whittington, CFP®, President at Meld Financial. The webinar will be held on August 24th at 3:00 PM Central Time. There is no cost to attend, but you must register in advance.


Preparing for retirement 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 that will carry you through your golden years, while allowing your savings to continue growing once you retire.

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. At the end of each section, you will find a list of links to those tools.

Social Security Resources

The Social Security Administration states, “on average, retirement beneficiaries receive 40% of their pre-retirement income from Social Security”. 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 help you determine the best 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. As an example, there have been important changes to Social Security due to the recent pandemic. Those planning their retirement should be careful to review those changes, since they could impact the optimal time for you to begin receiving your benefits.

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 next Social Security webinar. 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 here at Meld Financial.

Valuable Social Security Planning Resources:

Medicare Resources

Reaching the eligible age to receive Medicare 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 for you 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. Because much like ‘open enrollment’ for insurance carriers, there are certain times of the year when beneficiaries 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. Talking with a financial advisor can be one way 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 next Medicare webinar. 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 here at Meld Financial.

Valuable Medicare Planning Resources:

Financial Wellness is 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?”.

But, 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 in mind your long-term goals such as travel, providing for your family, and downsizing your home. Also consider any additional income that you might have, like Social Security, pension 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. By knowing 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 the beneficiary reaches 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, sign up for the next session of the Meld University Webinar: Preparing for Long-Term Care Expenses in Retirement.

For some people, this process can be somewhat straight forward, but for most of us, 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™, sign up for our next DEFENSE WINS RETIREMENT™ webinar, where we describe the process in detail.

Valuable Resources to Support Financial Wellness:

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.

Valuable Tax Planning Resources:

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, many people think they are too young or too healthy to need a Will, but the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that 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, join us for the next iteration of 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:

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, we can leverage our vast experience, in conjunction with a team of financial and legal professionals, to help you develop your Financial Fingerprint™.

Your Financial Fingerprint™ is a unique financial planning process developed here at Meld through several decades of managing our clients’ wealth. In short, your FINANCIAL FINGERPRINT™ is a plan that is quick to assemble, easy to understand and simple to modify as your circumstances change. If you’re ready to talk, click the “Get Started” button on our home page to schedule a meeting with a member of our team – at your convenience.

Join Us for a Meld University Event

A social security card with the words "Free CPE / CLE Webinar" in place of the name
Social Security Educational Webinar Exclusively for CPAs & Attorneys

Learn some of the nuances with Social Security at the 1-hour CPE/CLE educational webinar exclusively for CPAs and Attorneys, hosted by Meld Financial.

DEFENSE WINS RETIREMENT™: How to Shift Your Strategy From Growth to Income

Join us as we illustrate the importance of shifting from offense to defense and learn how to understand your personal investment allocation needs.

Medicare for CPAs and Attorneys - Earn Free CPE / CLE Credit
Medicare Educational Webinar Exclusively for CPAs & Attorneys

Learn how Medicare works and when you can get premiums reduced at this educational webinar for CPAs and Attorneys, presented by Meld University.

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Meld Financial, Inc. is an independent wealth management firm located in Birmingham, AL.

We specialize in financial planning, investment management, employee benefits and executive benefits for individuals, families, trusts, foundations and institutions.

We provide independent and objective services melded with customer-driven financial goals.

Mark McGarvey - Chairman - Meld Financial

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-Mark McGarvey, Chairman