Financial planning in retirement

by Badgley Phelps | Nov 29, 2018

Financial planning in retirement is much different than when you were working. Instead, the focus shifts from building your nest egg to the quality of your retirement lifestyle and what you’ll leave behind. Here’s what we think is important in retirement and beyond.

Focus 1: Live off your retirement savings

You’ve worked, saved and invested with the goal of retiring comfortably. How do you make sure your savings last? How do you continue to invest wisely?

Start by reviewing your expected income from all sources and comparing it to your projected expenses. If there is an income shortfall, your retirement savings will need to cover these gaps. The process of using your savings to help fund your lifestyle in retirement is known as the decumulation of assets. The order by which you start drawing from your accounts will have a big impact on the longevity of your funds. There are numerous strategies to consider. However, no analysis is complete without considering your year by year withdrawals and the resulting tax and investment effect. Your adviser can help!

We recommend holding a diversified portfolio which is custom built for your time horizon, return objectives and risk tolerance. This means that two investors, both age 70, could have portfolios that look very different. Finding the right mix of assets, such as stocks, bonds and cash is crucial to securing the longevity of your nest egg.

To help make the most of your money, there are many financial perks in the form of discounts and deals available to retirees. You can shop, dine, travel, read and be entertained—all for less money than you’d expect. Plus, there are great deals on gym memberships, prescriptions, insurance and much more to help ensure you enjoy retirement to the fullest.

Focus 2: Get serious about estate planning

In your youth, estate planning may have meant simply creating a will and naming beneficiaries. But in retirement, estate planning means much more. It’s about formally stating who will receive portions of your estate, and when and how they will receive it—taking care to determine the best way to do this with the least amount of taxes and fees. Key elements of your estate plan should include:

  • Communication about the values that are important to you
  • Instructions for your care should you become disabled
  • Detailed instructions on transfer of portions of your estate to your chosen beneficiaries
  • Life, disability and long-term care insurance so that family members aren’t burdened with these expenses
  • Outline of the legal transfer of your business

Because life and laws change, reviewing your estate plan should happen regularly in concert with your financial adviser and/or estate attorney. They can help educate you on the difference between a living trust and a will—which is better for your individual circumstances—and what assets go through your state’s probate process before they’re distributed to heirs and which don’t. Routinely reviewing your estate plan will help keep you organized and up-to-date with any necessary changes. With proper estate planning, you can have the last word.

Focus 3: Consider end of life planning

End of life planning for you or a loved one is not an easy topic to discuss at any time. But an awkward conversation now is better than the stress of not knowing someone’s intensions later. Hold a family meeting to:

  • Share and discuss family values and goals of individual family members
  • Raise the issue of providing home health assistance, should it be necessary, and determine how it’ll be handled
  • Discuss how parents will maintain social relationships and activities
  • Talk about expenses to cover end of life arrangements

Name a personal representative to manage the administration of a deceased individual’s estate, also known as the estate executor or estate administrator. Their duties include:

  • Identifying and protecting estate assets
  • Determining date-of-death valuations
  • Managing creditor’s claims of the estate
  • Filing all appropriate pleadings with probate court
  • Filing all the appropriate tax returns
  • Distributing the estate assets

There are also several administrative tasks to address, such as reviewing the financial inventory, considering tax and portfolio implications and creating, reviewing or updating critical documents. Read more about end-of-life planning here.

Many people consider retirement as the end game in financial planning. Certainly, one of the great joys of our work is helping our clients reach this important milestone in their lives and watching them enjoy their post-career lifestyle. Yet, ongoing financial planning in retirement will help you make the best financial choices while considering your accumulated resources—whether it’s a quality of life decision or assembling and maintaining a plan for your legacy.


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