Are You Really Prepared for Retirement?

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About Steve Kerby

Steve Kerby is a lifetime resident of Oregon, having graduated from Southern Oregon University, where he majored in business. Throughout his 49 years in the financial services industry, Steve has maintained the most professional approach to each of his client’s needs. His background is extensive and based on helping people save money on taxes and making sure money set aside for retirement is safe and secure. If there is one asset that Steve exhibits, it is his ability to “listen.” Steve knows how important it is to understand each client’s goals and ambitions and to match them up with the best possible financial planning options.

Here’s Why You Might Be Missing the Mark

Retirement planning is a crucial aspect of financial management, yet many people are not adequately prepared. Common misconceptions and mistakes may derail even the best-intentioned plans. Here’s why you might not be planning for retirement correctly and what you may do to get back on track.

Underestimating Retirement Expenses

One of the biggest mistakes people make is underestimating their retirement expenses. Many assume that their living costs will decrease significantly once they retire. While it’s true that certain expenses, like commuting or work-related costs, may diminish, other expenses, such as healthcare, may increase. Additionally, retirees often have more time for leisure activities, which may lead to higher spending on travel, hobbies, and entertainment. A realistic budget that factors in these expenses is essential.

Overlooking Inflation

Inflation is a silent threat to retirement savings. The cost of living increases over time, eroding the purchasing power of your money. A retirement plan that doesn’t account for inflation is bound to fall short. To mitigate this risk, consider investments that have the potential to outpace inflation, such as stocks or real estate. Regularly revising your retirement plan to adjust for inflation may help maintain your standard of living.

Relying Solely on Social Security

Many people overestimate the role Social Security will play in their retirement. While Social Security is a valuable resource, it is not designed to be the sole source of income in retirement. The average Social Security benefit replaces only about 40% of pre-retirement income for the average worker. To ensure financial stability, it’s crucial to have additional sources of income, such as savings, investments, or a pension.

Ignoring Healthcare Costs

Healthcare is one of the most significant expenses in retirement, and it’s often underestimated. Medicare covers many healthcare costs but not everything, such as long-term care, dental, and vision care. It’s essential to plan for these out-of-pocket expenses. Consider purchasing supplemental or long-term care insurance to cover the gaps in Medicare coverage.

Not Having a Withdrawal Strategy

Retirees who do not implement an effective withdrawal strategy risk exhausting their savings prematurely. To avoid this, it is crucial to establish a plan for annual withdrawals from retirement accounts. One widely suggested method is the 4% rule, which involves withdrawing 4% of your retirement savings in the first year and adjusting that amount for inflation each year thereafter. This strategy is designed to ensure that your savings may support you for a minimum of 30 years.

Failing to Diversify Investments

A diversified investment portfolio is critical to managing risk and ensuring steady growth. Many people make the mistake of either being too conservative or too aggressive with their investments. A well-balanced portfolio that includes a mix of stocks, bonds, and other assets may help protect against market volatility and provide steady returns.

Not Taking Advantage of Tax-Advantaged Accounts

Tax-advantaged retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs offer significant benefits, but many people do not fully take advantage of them. Contributing to these accounts may reduce your taxable income and provide tax-deferred or tax-free growth, depending on the account type. Maximize your contributions to these accounts to benefit from these tax advantages.

Overlooking Estate Planning

Crafting an estate plan is a crucial aspect of preparing for retirement that many people neglect. Without a well-thought-out estate plan, your assets might not be allocated as you desire, and your heirs could encounter substantial tax liabilities. To safeguard your legacy, it is important to have a will in place, consider establishing trusts, and designate beneficiaries for your accounts. These steps help ensure your assets are managed and transferred according to your wishes.

Not Seeking Professional Advice

Retirement planning may be complex, and many fail to seek professional advice. A financial advisor may provide valuable insights and help you create a comprehensive retirement plan tailored to your needs. They may help you avoid common pitfalls and make informed decisions about your investments, withdrawal strategies, and estate planning.

Conclusion

Proper retirement planning involves more than just saving money; it requires a comprehensive strategy that accounts for future expenses, inflation, healthcare costs, and more. Addressing these common mistakes and seeking professional advice may improve your retirement plan and ensure a secure financial future. Don’t leave your retirement to chance—take proactive steps now to ensure you are truly prepared.

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About Steve Kerby

Steve Kerby is a lifetime resident of Oregon, having graduated from Southern Oregon University, where he majored in business. Throughout his 49 years in the financial services industry, Steve has maintained the most professional approach to each of his client’s needs. His background is extensive and based on helping people save money on taxes and making sure money set aside for retirement is safe and secure. If there is one asset that Steve exhibits, it is his ability to “listen.” Steve knows how important it is to understand each client’s goals and ambitions and to match them up with the best possible financial planning options.

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