Business Toolbox: 10 Ways To Prepare For Retirement

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Thinking it’s time to retire? 

Take the time to prepare, before it’s time to retire. Start your preparations with the support of experienced financial advisors and prepare for the life you might imagine.

Here are 10 ways to be better prepared for retirement:

  1. Start by reviewing the financial plan. Readying for retirement is the ideal time to start a financial plan. Shop for a qualified professional, one who acts as a fiduciary, is a good personality fit, and whose area of practice is focused on your needs. 
  2. Review the appropriate level of risk in your investments. It is common for investors to seek to maximize pre-retirement investing by taking significant market risk. As retirement nears, it may be time to consider scaling back some risk as preservation of capital becomes more important. 
  3. Review when to access Social Security and/or pensions. Depending on life expectancy, it may be better to draw from other resources while Social Security amounts grow prior to initiating benefits. For example, Social Security benefits grow by 8 percent per year from full retirement age until age 70. For someone whose full retirement age is 67, that means an additional 24 percent benefit if started at age 70 … along with compounded inflation increases. For the higher breadwinner, it will last as long as your lifespan, but if you are married, it will be the longer of either spouse. Around age 80, the accumulated higher monthly benefits may overcome the three years of not receiving benefits. If you expect one will live past 80, starting at 70 may be best. Work with a professional to examine the timing of pensions and Social Security. 
  4. Seek to consolidate and simplify the number of accounts. Develop a process of how investments will be structured, accessed, and invested. Planning where to hold what kinds of investments and approaching a portfolio as a purposeful design is the challenge now. While you have full faculties, start building the team of professionals who will help you and a prospective surviving spouse or family in the event your abilities diminish or at your untimely passing.
  5. Be realistic in planning for expensesand projections for cash flows and inflation. Some expenses may diminish or end in retirement – career expenses, paying off the mortgage, etc. Other expenses will increase –travel, health care. Replicate your current spending levels while backing out current investment and savings. Tally up what flowed out of your bank account(s) over a 12-month period. Some extraordinary expenses are likely every year. Financial planners have sophisticated software that can plan for wide ranging scenarios of expenses, goals, work income, and different inflation considerations.
  6. Re-evaluate the need and purpose of old life insurance. Once wealth is created and you’re prepared to make work optional, existing life insurance, for most families, may become optional. 
  7. Consider the potentially high costs of long-term care (LTC)late in life. Insurance can be worthy of consideration for long-term care. LTC insurance is costly, so it is a challenge to plan the ideal mix of coverage and risk. There are several means of managing risk with traditional LTC insurance policies, life insurance hybrid policies, and annuity hybrids. Evaluate the best plan for your family’s health and resources.
  8. Evaluate whether your current home meets your retirement desires and needs. Retirement is often a time to relocate to warmer climates. Some seek to be near family. Many consider where their final home may be to allow a longer period of staying in place as their needs change. Single floor living and simplified maintenance can be key for aging. Downsizing can come with benefits of lower costs for taxes, utilities and maintenance.
  9. Get serious about estate planning. Most retirees will want to have documents like a healthcare proxy or a living will and a power of attorney. Medicaid planning focuses on protecting assets from the concerns of spending down to become eligible for Medicaid but limits your access to your own wealth by giving funds away or placing them into an irrevocable trust where principal is not accessible. For those with wealth, perhaps the more preferable approach is a revocable living trust which helps you manage financial concerns for incapacity, testamentary disposition, probate avoidance, and potentially creditor protection for heirs.
  10. Reimagine your life’s purpose.Start planning for how you’ll spend your time. Retirement marks not only an ending but also a new beginning. It is an opportunity to reimagine what will give your life meaning and focus for the next phase. The imagination, and one’s financial resources after competent planning, are your only limits.

Chris Boyd is the founder of Asset Management Resources, LLC and the Chief Executive Officer. He has been assisting clients for over 25 years. Asset Management Resources, LLC is a registered investment advisor firm in Massachusetts. For more information call 508-771-8900, email or visit