Thursday, February 27, 2014

Retirement Made Easy

We have discussed retirement planning in previous a pervious blog that may be seen here.  The primary question usually associated with retirement is “Do we have enough money to retire?” Asset levels, income, and anticipated expenses are, of course, prime components to the answer of that question. However, there are other factors to consider; we will discuss some of them here.

Time Management

Ah, no alarm clock to set; no meetings with peers/clients—nothing to do but what you wish. However, what will you do in retirement? The 40-55 hour work week will free a lot of time in your schedule. Have you thought about what you will do in retirement? The first few weeks of “honey-do" or deferred travels will pass. Then how will you spend your time. It really is a factor that should be considered. Some individuals may be content to do little; others may decide to expand their horizons through new activities or new vocations (possibly starting a new business). What time—and money—will be required in this new world? At the very least, the pre-retiree should develop a preliminary plan of what to do in retirement. Preliminary planning and, if possible, some actual time spent in anticipated retirement activities would help the future retiree decide if those activities are truly what he/she wants to do. One option to consider might be a “phased-in” retirement where work hours are reduced over time. Such an arrangement may help the retiree determine how he/she chooses to utilize his/her time as well as provide some relief in expenses through continued employment income.

A Family Affair

Retirement is a significant change in family dynamics. The spouse of one recently retired husband complained of “twice as much husband and half as much income.” After 30-40 years of working outside the home, ‘togetherness” may require some significant inter-personal adjustments. Spouses may wish to have discussions about how their time will be spent after retirement.

In addition, following the recent recession and loss of jobs/wealth, many families are now in the situation of helping either younger, adult children/grandchildren or parents/grandparents. Such assistance may jeopardize the long term retirement prospects of a potential retiree. While parents have a natural tendency to help children financially, the children have a longer time frame in which to recover financially; retirees usually have neither the time nor the economic opportunity to recover.

Retirement Expenses

Expense in retirement is a significant consideration. Ascertaining those expenses can be problematic. Some current expenses will go away (work related commuting expenses, noon time meals, business clothing, etc.) Other expenses may increase! With no work requirement, how will you fill your time? Will the method you choose cost more than you are currently spending on such activities? Current retirees face a long period in retirement—in many cases over 30 years. Consider the different stages in retirement. The first stage is usually one of good health, interest in varied activities, and developing new interests. That stage (around the first 10 years of retirement) may actually increase expense because the new activities cost more than the work related expense savings. The second stage (the next 10 years) generally involves less activity than early retirement years and thus may require less expense than initial retirement years. The latter years of retirement usually involve a diminished activity level but may require additional expense related to health care.

The expense estimate cannot be overstated. Determining how much to budget involves estimating costs from a new activity level at a time when income levels are also changing. Consider preparing two post-retirement budgets. The first budget should contain the normal, ongoing expenses in retirement. That budget would include things such as food, shelter, utilities, taxes, insurance, and those known items that will be required to maintain the basic standard of living you wish to enjoy. The second budget should include those items that you wish to do: travel, hobbies, starting a new business, etc. If possible, live according to those budgets in advance of retirement—see if they are reasonable; if not, then make adjustments as required. Don’t overlook the expenses that will “go away” in retirement. When will the house be paid off (if not already)? There will no longer be contributions to the 401(k) plan. Will college expenses for the children be paid off?

We at Paragon Financial Advisors can assist you in the preparation of your retirement plan. Please call us and we can discuss the particular circumstances associated with your retirement or retirement plan.  Paragon Financial Advisors is a fee-only registered investment advisory company located in College Station, Texas. We offer financial planning and investment management.


               
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