In order to create a sound retirement strategy designed to meet your future needs, you will need to do some basic groundwork to build your foundation for success. It all begins with a snapshot of your current situation in order to determine where you currently are financially. Once you know where you are, you can begin determine what your retirement with look like. Finally, you will figure out how to bridge the gap between where you want to be in the future and where you are today.
1. Gather all your information. This step includes gathering data on your current living expenses and considering how those living expenses may look during retirement years. For example, you will need to consider which expenses are necessary and essential for day-to-day living, vs. discretionary (i.e. the nice to have expenses). You will include items such as expenses for housing, personal care, insurance premiums, health care, food, transportation, and other. This will help give you a clear snapshot of what you are currently spending on a monthly basis.
2. Determine what your income/expenses look like during retirement.
This includes expense items such as
- Property taxes
- Insurance premiums
- Long term care
- Personal care (dry cleaning, hair cuts, clothing)
- Other (entertainment, travel hobbies)
And income sources such as:
- Social security
- Other retirement plan
- Dividend interest
- Part-time work
- Full-time work
- Roth IRAs
- Traditional IRAs
- Mutual funds
- Other assets (real estate, businesses)
- Liquid assets
3. Assess if/where there is a shortfall. Once you have added up all your expenses and looked at your future sources of income, you will be able to subtract the expenses from the income streams to determine whether there will be a shortfall (and, if so, by how much). This will provide the direction needed for creating a retirement income strategy.
4. Formulate your retirement strategies with a financial professional.
5. Implement your retirement strategies. Revisit any time your financial circumstances change.