Prepping for Retirement in the Home Stretch

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About Michael Masor

Michael specializes in protecting his clients’ finances and guiding them to reach their goals. As the owner of Clearwater Financial Group, proudly independent, he contracts with multiple companies to provide the best products to his clients.

With just five years left until retirement, the countdown has officially begun. This crucial period is your last chance to ensure that you are financially prepared for the lifestyle you envision post-retirement. Rather than assuming you’re set for your golden years, this is the time to review your financial situation meticulously, set realistic expectations, and make any necessary adjustments to avoid surprises down the line.

Understanding Your Financial Needs

Firstly, it’s essential to gain a clear understanding of your monthly expenses. It’s not about cutting back on everything; it’s about knowing which expenditures are necessary and which can be reduced. What brings you joy, and what can you live without? It’s a shared realization that income in retirement may be less than what many expect, and with inflation on the rise, it’s crucial to plan for a potentially tighter budget.

Projecting Your Retirement Income

Next, take a detailed look at your expected income sources in retirement. This includes everything from Social Security (check the official estimates) to pensions, annuities, savings, investments, and any potential part-time income. Do all these sources combined meet your monthly financial needs? If not, it’s time to reassess either your expectations or your investment strategies.

Evaluating Investment and Risk

As retirement approaches, the impact of a major market downturn could be significantly damaging, making it critical to assess whether your investment portfolio is appropriately balanced. This is a time to consider your risk tolerance and perhaps seek advice from a trusted financial advisor if you’re not well-versed in terms like “asset allocation.” Ensuring that your investments are aligned with your age and retirement timeline may safeguard your savings from unexpected market fluctuations.

Healthcare and Long-term Care Considerations

Healthcare is another area that demands attention. With costs continually rising, understanding what Medicare covers and what additional insurance you might need is vital. Long-term care may deplete savings quickly if not planned for properly. Despite the high costs, investing in supplemental insurance and long-term care options is advisable—they might be costly now but could save you significantly in the future.

Estate Planning and Legacy

Additionally, if you intend to leave assets to loved ones or charities, it’s crucial to have your estate planning in order. This process isn’t reserved for the wealthy; rather, it’s a practical step for anyone wanting to avoid future complications and ensure their wishes are carried out.

Considering Work and Lifestyle Adjustments

Despite best efforts, some find that five years wasn’t enough time to fully prepare. If this sounds like you, there are still options. Could you see yourself continuing to work part-time, perhaps in your current field or something more flexible? Maybe a passion project could turn into a side hustle. Generating even a small income can significantly ease the pressure on your savings.

Alternatively, reassessing your lifestyle might be necessary. Downsizing your home, moving to a more affordable area, or cutting discretionary spending can all make a substantial difference. What’s crucial is identifying what truly matters to you and adjusting your plans accordingly.

Phasing Into Retirement

For some, a gradual transition into retirement could be the answer. Instead of stopping work abruptly, you might negotiate with your employer for reduced hours or less demanding responsibilities. This phased approach can provide a smoother financial transition and alleviate some of the anxiety associated with leaving the workforce entirely.

Embrace Proactivity and Flexibility

Ultimately, the key to a successful transition into retirement is not to be caught off guard. Being proactive now is crucial; it ensures peace of mind later. If you find that your preparation is lacking as you near retirement, it’s far better to make adjustments sooner rather than later. Consult with financial experts, reassess your plans, and stay open to the myriad possibilities that this next chapter in life might bring. Whether it’s continuing to work, modifying your lifestyle, or adjusting your financial plans, your retirement can still be a fulfilling and joyous period if approached with the right mindset and preparations.

Many people have learned about the power of using the Safe Money approach to reduce volatility. Our Safe Money Guide is in its 20th edition and is available for free.  

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About Michael Masor

Michael specializes in protecting his clients’ finances and guiding them to reach their goals. As the owner of Clearwater Financial Group, proudly independent, he contracts with multiple companies to provide the best products to his clients.

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Content in our posted articles is deemed to be accurate but topics, facts and laws can change. It is always a good idea to verify facts before making decisions. Always seek authorized and professional advice regarding financial decisions which includes investing, annuity purchases, tax planning, changes in a financial portfolio and retirement planning.

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