Barry and Adam wrote and published the book “Guided Retirement Income Planning” in November 2020 to create higher levels of financial literacy and to show a comprehensive and logical process for executing income planning in retirement. Since we believe that this subject matter is so important and relevant, we are going to roll out one chapter each month. While our approach and philosophy will remain consistent in every economic cycle, customization for each household will vary.
We want to emphasize that some of you are not close to retirement and it is never too early to plan. You may also have loved ones, friends, or colleagues that are in need of help. We would be pleased to send them a complimentary copy of our book. We simply hope to help as many people as possible. As we present these chapters, we invite you to circle back to us with any questions or concerns about the content and how it relates to you.
Please enjoy Chapter 6 below!
Your Partners at MGFS
Chapter 6: Determining Retirement Goals (Step 1)
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” (Tony Robbins)
Are you ready for retirement? This section asks a series of questions that you should consider leading into and early in retirement. These questions are primarily non-financial in nature and may lead to important, broader considerations within the planning process. If you can readily answer most of these questions, this is an indication that you are well-positioned to move forward.
GENERAL RETIREMENT QUESTIONS
· What concerns you the most about retirement?
· What excites you the most about retirement?
· What outcome(s) do you need in order to consider your retirement a success?
HEALTH & FITNESS
· Do you have a wellness plan that includes exercise, nutrition, and stress management?
· Do you pay attention to your physical fitness and health?
· Are you concerned about your family medical history or future health issues?
· Do you provide assistance for any loved ones or do you participate in their medical care?
· Do you provide financial support for a loved one? If so, do you intend to continue to do so?
· If you do provide support to a loved one, is it difficult deciding how much support to give?
· Do you want to live near family?
· What are your priorities in choosing where to live?
· Will moving or relocating change your standard of living or lifestyle?
· No matter where you live, will you have a network of family, friends, and colleagues? (Do not underestimate the importance of relationships.)
· If you remain at your current location, do you have ideas or a timeline on if, when, or where you would want to live later in retirement?
· Have you identified what activities or hobbies you will actively participate in?
· Will you take up any new activities or interests?
· How much do you want to travel?
· Is continuing to learn important and if so, what do you want to learn about?
· Are there any activities that would be important enough to provide a sense of purpose?
· If you knew you had only three years to live, and you were healthy, what would you change about your life? What if it were three months?
· Do you want to do any volunteer work? If so, with whom, and why?
· Do you want/need to continue to work in retirement for income?
· Do you want/need to work part-time?
· How long do you want/need to continue to work?
· Do you want/need to work for someone else in retirement?
· Do you want/need to go back to school, start a new career, or start a new business?
· How important is it to donate to charities?
· Do you want to donate money to charities now and/or after death?
· Are beneficiaries on all of your accounts up-to-date and are they optimal?
· For your non-trust taxable accounts, have you established transfer on death registrations?
· Have your wills and trusts been reviewed in the last five years and have you registered the appropriate assets in the name of your trust(s)?
· Besides money, what values do you want to leave to your loved ones?
· What specific items or traditions do you want to leave to others?
· How would you want to live when you are no longer able to live independently?
· Who would help if you needed either personal care or assistance with household tasks?
· How will you pay for long-term care?
RETIREMENT INCOME PLANNING
· How do you feel about investment risk?
· What other risks are you concerned about and how are you dealing with them?
· What are the top three priorities you want to focus on in the next several years?
· Do you think that your spending will increase, decrease, or stay the same?
· Do you have strong feelings about specific products or strategies?
· How would you feel if you had to make adjustments to your spending?
· Are you less concerned with how long your retirement funds last and more concerned with living your desired lifestyle in your early retirement years?
· Do you think taxes will be higher or lower in retirement and how have you prepared your portfolio?
You have now evaluated your retirement readiness by reviewing many non-financial considerations, often just as important as reviewing your assets, spending, and potential income sources. While this information is on your mind, you should complete the Retirement Planning Survey in the appendix to help you prioritize these needs and concerns. We encourage each spouse to complete the survey independently so that major differences can be reconciled early in the process.
Just like anything else in planning, these questions should be periodically revisited just in case the answers change dramatically. It is important for both spouses to be on the same page and either share the same vision or recognize how each other’s goals contrast with each other. You really do not need to do this alone. Seek out family, friends, and advisors to talk through these important questions. You will find clarity by allowing others to help.
Finally, in going through this exercise, there are two more questions that you will need to think about. These may be the two most important questions and perhaps the most difficult to answer:
· How do you want to be remembered?
· What do you want your legacy to be?
The Lighter Side of Aging from George Burns
People ask me what I’d appreciate getting for my eighty-seventh birthday. I tell them, a paternity suit.
People are always asking me when I’m going to retire. Why should I? I’ve got it two ways – I’m still making movies, and I’m a senior citizen. I can see myself at half price.
I stay away from natural foods. At my age, I need all the preservatives I can get.
You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.