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Ask most retirees what’s the one thing they wish they had known before they retired and they’ll probably tell you, if they had to do it all over again, they would have liked to have that one piece of advice that would have made things significantly easier.

Here’s your chance to get that “one” piece of advice.

It turns out, when you ask professionals what this “one” piece of advice is, you get a handful of precise answers, any one of which can make a difference to you. Imagine doing all these things.

Define Yourself
Know thyself. This is not just a classic answer, it’s a classical answer.

“Don’t focus on what you would have done differently if you could redo it all,” says Matthew Eickman, National Retirement Practice Leader at Qualified Plan Advisors in Omaha. “Focus on what resources, options and relationships are currently at your disposal, and chart a path forward with an interest in getting the most out of those as possible. A retiree, who likely has positively impacted the lives of so many others in his or her families, communities and organizations, should not be defined by what he or she failed to do. Instead, endeavor to be defined by what you have done and find ways to contribute to your family, community and/or organization of interest that provides the greatest personal fulfillment.”

Be Prepared

Scouts honor, you should have already thought of this one.

“Be ready,” says Viktoria Wilson, a financial advisor in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Preparation, preparation and preparation is the key. A lot of people reach a certain age and decide to retire. They have accumulated some assets, so they feel they are ready. There are a lot of decisions to be made in retirement and a lot of them are one time chances, (like Social Security), so people need to be aware of how each choice may affect them and then choose. Retirement is a new phase of life that they haven’t experienced yet, so it takes some planning to get it right. Especially because people want to enjoy their retirement.”

“Just like a professional investor would say ‘sell into strength,’ make sure that you are retiring into a position of financial strength,” says Chris Gure, Investment Consultant at Fortress Financial Partners in Raleigh, North Carolina. “We are not advising people to work longer than they need to but have a plan on how that nest egg you’ve built up is going to support you.”

“If you are thinking about retiring you should start the process 3-5 years before the date you want to retire,” says Mark Minder, Vice President of Retirement Plans & Benefits at Darden Wealth Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “You should create a plan with a fee-based advisor that shows you what is possible. This plan should not only include your basic income needs but your wants and dreams for the future. This plan should look at all sources of income, plan for inflation, and your spending habits. This could mean looking at credit card statements and bank statements and seeing where your money is flowing. When you start planning for retirement, you should be willing to be honest with yourself and the planner you are working with. You should also build into your plan the likelihood of market fluctuations and that yourself or your spouse have a great chance of in-home care or at a care facility.”

Read more in the original piece in Forbes here.

Author: Chris Carosa

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