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The Right Plan That’s Right for You​

The first and most important step you should take right now toward your planning for retirement is to work with one or more financial professionals. Choose an advisor who uses a holistic approach to their planning incorporating not just your investments and savings, but also your tax, health care and legacy needs as well. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) or a Certified Wealth Strategist (CWS®) will compile data from your current financial portfolio, determine your current and future goals and concerns and then formulate and implement the right plan that is right for you. They will also meet with you on a regular basis to make adjustments as circumstances in your life may change. Your overall plan should consist of 10 key points: budget, asset inventory, debt consolidation, risk tolerance and planning, insurance, housing , Withdrawal Rate, Estate Planning, Tax Planning and some fun creating a Bucket List.


The Right Plan That’s Right for You​

One of the first steps in retirement planning is knowing how you will afford life after work. Most people don’t like living on a “Budget”. But knowing what your essential and non-essential expenses are will help you to begin planning for a worry free retirement. Don’t be fooled by thinking your spending will be reduced during retirement. Once the mortgage is paid off and the kids have moved out, other expenditures creep-up. Will you travel, take on a hobby, spoil the grandchildren? You may also face greater medical costs. So instead of needing 60% – 70% of your pre-retirement income for the golden years like it was once thought, you may actually need more like 80% – 100%. Assess your budget and start deciding where you can cut expenses now to save for later.


Asset Inventory: Life Without a Paycheck

Once you retire and you are no longer earning a paycheck from work, how will you replace that income? When your grandparents and parents retired, they had Social Security, a Pension and their own savings and/or investments. Today however, there are increasing concerns about the stability of Social Security and the amount it provides an individual each month. Also, less than 17% of Americans now report that they have a pension through work. Taking those two factors out of the equation leaves the bulk of your retirement resources up to you. Here is a quick list to help determine some financial tools that you can implement now to provide income later:

Remember, no matter which tool or tools you employ, long-term management will ensure your retirement funds keep up with the pace of inflation.


Debt Consolidation: Less Debt, More Income

Once you have created a budget and assessed possible future income avenues, the next step is to determine what can be reduced and eventually paid off. The first two major items of concern are typically credit card debt and student loan debt. While it may seem like forever ago when you went to college, student loan debt can impact your financial planning, post work. According to a recent report, 3 million senior citizens in the US are STILL paying off their student loans. What items can you cross off this list before you retire?
The graph below is an example of how you can gradually pay off debt, one by one, by carrying the payments over from one debt to the next as they get paid off.

Retirement Risks: Know what they are and how to combat them

There are many key factors that can eat away at your retirement savings.

Some of these risks you can control. For example, longevity. Do you know how long you are going to live? No one does, but you can benefit from planning on at least a 20-30 year time horizon. More and more people are living longer and longer, so you should plan on living until at least 80, if not 90, and maybe even 100 and beyond. The point is, you have to make sure you continue receiving money from your portfolio no matter how long you live. An annuity would be one option in sustaining long-term income.

Next, your Withdrawal Rate can also play into longevity. How much you withdraw over how long of a period of time will determine if you run out of funds or not. Your plan should account for inflation vs. your withdrawal rate. For these next several risks, there is very little anyone can do to impact them. You’ve heard the saying, “Timing is everything”, well when you retire and what the stock market does right before or right after that time, give or take a couple of years, can seriously impact your portfolio, either positively or negatively.

Another significant area of impact is inflation. Inflation can slowly eat away at your nest egg if you don’t plan for it correctly. Inflation is a decrease in the purchasing power of currency due to a rise in prices across the economy. Within living memory, the average price of a cup of coffee was a dime. Today the price is over to two dollars. A predictable response to declining purchasing power is to buy now, rather than later. As a result, cash will only lose value. The urge to spend and invest in the face of inflation tends to boost inflation in turn, creating a potentially catastrophic feedback loop.2 Deflation, on the other hand, can reduce the value of savings bonds because as interest rates increase, the value of bonds decrease.


Last but not least, Sequence of Returns risk, which refers to the danger that the market could sour just before retirement funds are needed. This can have a significant impact on a retiree who depends on the income from a lifetime of investing and is no longer contributing new capital that could offset losses.

This doesn’t affect your portfolio if you are still in the accumulation phase, meaning you’re still working, earning income and your portfolio has time to recover after a market loss. However, if the market has a serious down swing just before or just after your retirement date, the consequences could be adverse to your portfolio.


Health Insurance: Employment Equaled Employer Provided Insurance (most of the time)

Health Insurance will be one of the largest expenditures you will encounter if your retirement starts before you qualify for medicare. During your working life, you most likely had medical insurance provided by your employer. With retirement on the horizon, you will need to evaluate how you will pay for medical expenses. If you are retiring before age 65, you won’t qualify for Medicare. The enormous cost of health care may determine how early you retire. Many people who retire before they qualify for Medicare benefits find themselves working part-time jobs just for medical coverage. Here are some examples of coverage options.

Along with standard medical care, long-term care is also an important consideration

50-50 that you’ll require paid long-term care (LTC) someday. If you pay out of pocket, you’ll spend $140,000 on average per year. Yet you probably haven’t planned for that financial risk. Only 7.2 million or so Americans have LTC insurance, which covers many of the costs of a nursing home, assisted living or in-home care — expenses that aren’t covered by Medicare. Work with your financial advisor to find the right policy for you.


Housing: Your Health May Determine Your Living Needs

Just before or just after retirement, you may decide to make a decision to down size or not to down size your home. And that’s great! Especially if that helps eliminate a mortgage or other debt. However, keep in mind your physical condition may change due to unexpected health issues within the first 10 years of retirement. Here a few things to consider when choosing your retirement housing needs: 


Withdrawing from Retirement Accounts

The Secure Act made major changes to the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules. If you reached the age of 70½ in 2019 the prior rule applies, and you must take your first RMD by April 1, 2020. If you reach age 70 ½ in 2020 or later you must take your first RMD by April 1 of the year after you reach 72. The CARES Act of 2020 also made even further changes.

At whatever age you have to start taking RMDs, it is required you take distributions from certain types of retirement funds. Knowing when to withdraw, how much to take, and what the tax consequences will be are all very important in this process. Pre-planning your retirement also helps to choose what type of accounts or policies will best benefit you during your distribution years. This is why it is so strongly recommended to work with a CFP or CWS for your planning needs.


Estate Planning: How will your loved ones be taken care of after you pass away?

This part of retirement planning is not just about the “who gets what”. There are a number of important and even legal issues that need to be in place before your passing or incapacitation. If you have a spouse, how will they continue on financially after the grieving process? What about kids, grandkids or even pets? Will the ones left behind know where all your important documents are and how to access your online accounts? Having the right plan and the right legal documents can make all the difference to your loved ones.

Here is a list of several items you will need in place:


Tax Planning

Planning your investments and taxes together could save you thousands of dollars every year. Those savings lead to a better retirement nest egg. Having a financial advisor that works closely with, not just your tax preparer but also your tax planner, is one of the best ways to ensure you are protected from over paying Uncle Sam. There are several types of accounts that are tax free or tax deferred and working with an advisor who works with your tax professional is the best way to decide where and when to place savings for optimal growth with limited tax exposure.


Bucket List: Sky Diving Anyone?

Last, but not least, your plan should incorporate the fun stuff. You may have not created an actual physical list of places you would like to go or things you would like to do yet. There is power in putting pen to paper, or in this age…..computer. Create a full list of all things you would like to accomplish while you are still physically able to help you make those dreams a reality. Once you have that list, plan how and what you need to do to start making those things actually happen. Every year you can look back and see what progress you’ve made and what still needs to be achieved. You may even find over time that list may change. Some things may no longer be as important, and you may discover other items you want to add. Here are a few things that commonly appear on bucket lists:

Good guidance inspires the confidence to stay on course with our wider variety of financial solutions.​

What’s next?

Centrus Financial Strategies is a financial services firm that takes a tax smart approach to designing financial plans that meet clients where they are and works with them to achieve their retirement dreams.

We work each day to achieve and sustain a trusted advisor relationship with our clients. We look to both our people and proven processes to get the job done. In this capacity, we have the wisdom and the tools to take our clients to their desired destination. We can guide, direct, inform and counsel our clients so that they can achieve their best life.

To learn more, feel free to visit us at centrusfs.com, or call us at 888-534-9994 to set a 15-minute consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.