Everything changes and you need to stay of top of things. Most of our grandfathers told us to “Never stop learning, planning or protecting”. But where or who do you get your information from that you can trust? Union Home Plus™ provides workshops and seminars to provide you with just that – trusted information you can use. Whether you have retirement plans on the horizon, are already retired or considering elder care options for yourself or a family member, we can help you navigate safely and confidently.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Retire
1. What kind of lifestyle do I want?
Before calculating how much money you need to retire, the future of your pension or 401k, you need to consider what sort of lifestyle you want to have in retirement. Do you want to stay in your current home or downsize? Will you want to move to a bigger city or someplace warmer? Maybe you want to travel the world. No matter how you envision your retirement, you’ll need to plan ahead to fund it. Depending on your goals, you might need to save more than you originally planned. If you’re married, you’ll need to speak with your spouse to make sure your retirement plans are aligned.
2. What will my expenses in retirement be?
Many experts say that most people can expect to spend about 85 cents in retirement for every dollar spent before retirement. Depending on your health, however, you might need to save more to cover medical expenses. If you have a chronic condition or mobility issues, over time you might end up needing to spend more money to maintain your quality of living. With a financial planner, you can get a detailed cash-flow analysis and help managing taxes.
3. Will I have enough savings to cover my expenses?
Less than half of all union workers say they’ve ever tried to calculate how much money they will need to save to live comfortably in retirement, according to The 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. If your retirement savings or pension can’t sustain your mortgage, insurance and other typical costs, you might want to reconsider your current savings plan. You will also want to calculate your Social Security benefit to determine how it will affect your monthly budget.
4. What impact will taxes have on my retirement income?
Taxes don’t disappear when you stop working. In fact, your tax bill can take a big bite out of your retirement income. Up to 85% of your Social Security benefits might be taxable if you have income in addition to your benefits. Withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as traditional IRAs and 401(k)s, are also taxed. A financial planner can help you figure out how taxes will impact you in retirement and what strategies you can use to minimize your tax bill.
5. How much debt do I have?
The more debt you carry into retirement, the more retirement income you’ll need to pay off what you owe. When you’re deciding when to retire, you need to figure out how long it will take to pay off your existing debts. Should you pay off any high-interest debts that aren’t tax-deductible first, such as credit card balances? If you have good credit, should you refinance any high-interest debt that’s tax-deductible, such as a mortgage, to get the lowest rate possible?
Retirement is a goal that we have been working toward for decades. But retirement is also a journey. It begins when we leave work, and can easily last for 20 or 30 years. As with any journey, it sometimes makes sense to stop and review where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Here are five questions to ask yourself when you first retire, and then again on a regular basis throughout the rest of your life. You may only need to review your situation once every few years, but most experts recommend doing it at the beginning of every year.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself After you’ve Retired
1. Are you on track?
You probably had a vision – or at least some dreams – of what retirement would look like long before you actually made the decision. Hopefully you had more concrete plans, and maybe even a budget by the time you actually left work. Now you should ask yourself: How am I doing? Think about your lifestyle. You might be retired in Washington or still living in your family home, cutting the grass, shoveling snow and storing old textbooks for your kids and grandkids. If you your retirement life “Plan” isn’t working the way you wanted, what’s stopping you from changing it? It could be an emotional issue or a financial problem. If you have deferred a lot of decisions, now is the time to take control and get on with your life.
2. What has changed?
Retirement involves a transition from working and saving to relaxing and spending. But the way you start retirement may not be the same lifestyle you settle into a few years down the line. Early retirement years often involve living out long-held dreams to travel, relocate or buy a sailboat. Then, typically, people settle down, and often their expenses go down as well. You may want to re-evaluate your budget, as well as your expectations, after you’ve tried out your new life for a while and have a better sense of what the future holds.
3. What do you want to change?
Compare the vision you had for retirement with the reality of your current life. Is there anything about your new lifestyle that hasn’t measured up to your expectations? Maybe you’ve checked off a few items on your bucket list, and now you’re ready for more. Or maybe some of your original items no longer seem interesting. Change doesn’t stop just because you’re retired. Some people relocate to Arizona or California only to find they can’t stand the heat, and they move back home or halfway back home to Washington. However far you’ve come in your retirement voyage, stop and consider if you still want to continue in the same direction, or if it’s time for a course correction.
4. Are any surprises in store?
When you set your retirement budget, you presumably projected the everyday expenses that will likely not vary much from month to month or even year to year. Then you took into account some discretionary items – a new car or a trip to Hawaii – and developed a plan to balance your financial resources with your spending expectations. But sometimes you get a surprise. Then it’s time to re-evaluate your position. If you’ve received an inheritance, you might make more ambitious plans. If you faced an unexpected medical bill or major home project, you might have to make some cuts in your discretionary expenses. If you haven’t yet been hit with one of life’s surprises, look ahead to see if any unexpected events could be on the horizon.
5. You should you be willing to change?
It’s prudent to plan ahead. But it’s also important to remain flexible, especially from a financial point of view. You make a plan based on everything you know, plus some reasonable projections. But every once in a while you have to stick your head out the window to see if the weather is changing and make adjustments as needed. If you’re overspending, you might consider taking a part-time job to fill the gap. Or maybe you’re not using that club membership, cabin or sailboat, and can cut back without causing any real pain.
Sometimes retirement doesn’t play out exactly the way you envisioned it when you were younger. There may be periods of uncertainty. But if you’re flexible, and periodically review your situation, then you will most likely find clear skies ahead. Union Home Plus™ is here to help provide the essential information and resources you need to be secure and enjoy life with and for your family. We are here to help.