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October 23rd, 2016 by

Year end holidays make us think about the future and what it can bring. A new year. Sparkling opportunities. Exciting adventures. Perhaps retirement is on the horizon for you in 2017. More than a third of Social Security claims are at the earliest age of 62. But, it permanently reduces your monthly amount. Very few wait until the latest claiming age of 70.  So, if you’re planning to retire, there is more to think about than just your Social Security claiming age and how it is calculated.

Social Security Claiming ages

Top tips to think about if you are planning to retire soon:

  1. Did you do a discovery phase? Maybe you think you’re ready to retire, but your bank account does not agree. Retirement calculators can help you determine necessary nest egg dollars if you’re planning to retire in 2017.
  2. Have you done your homework on the rules of retirement instruments?
    All financial instruments have rules, including 401K, 403b, IRAs and Roth IRAs. Know how each one will benefit you in retirement. In addition, there are required monthly distributions (RMD) that occur when you’re 70 years old. If you must withdraw money, how does that impact your tax obligations? It’s important to have a solid retirement strategy in place before planning to retire in 2017.
  3. Do you have a sufficient cash cushion? A retirement strategy looks at short, mid and long term goals during your retirement year. It also reviews longevity and costs associated with long term care planning. Have you accounted for the amount of liquid cash you might need during all stages of retirement?
  4. Did you designate your beneficiaries? It’s an easy thing to forget to do over the years of accumulating different retirement vehicles. Make sure you designate beneficiaries if you are planning to retire in 2017. Otherwise, your family members could wind up spending months in surrogate or probate court. Assign some time to go through and explicitly name beneficiaries.
  5. Are you going into retirement debt free? An important rule of thumb is to go into retirement debt free from any student or credit card debt. If you have debt, plan to stay working until you clear the debt. In addition, learn to live debt free for a few years before planning to retire.  You don’t want to carry bad habits into your golden years. It puts your nest egg dollars at risk rather than keeping them safe.

Source:  BankRate.com “Top 10 retirement tips for 2017” By Jill Cornfield
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/retirement/tips/default.aspx

Freeman Owen, Jr -Retirement Specialist

A retirement specialist can help you if you’re planning to retire soon.  Consult with a professional and be certain the timing is right for you.  Let’s talk.

Meet me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office at 1-833-313-7233 | MD, VA & DC. 

 

October 2, 2016
October 2nd, 2016 by

timing your retirement

In an ideal world, you would have many option when timing your retirement. You would leave the workforce, out of debt, and your nest egg would be large enough to provide a comfortable retirement. In fact, you might have some left over to leave a legacy for your heirs.

Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and events can take you by surprise. Only four out of 10 current retirees said they retired when they had planned; half retired earlier.1 But even if you retire on schedule and have other pieces of the retirement puzzle in place, you cannot predict the stock market. It would be wise to prepare for the possibility that you might retire during a index downturn.

Timing Your Retirement

Here is one strategy you can use when timing your retirement that may help address volatility. You can allocate your nest egg dollars into three different “buckets”.

Short-term (first 2 to 3 years): Cash and cash alternatives that you could draw on regardless of the index at the time you retire.

Mid-term (3 to 10 years in the future): Mostly fixed-income vehicles that may have moderate growth potential with low or moderate volatility; you might also have some equities in this bucket.

Long-term (more than 10 years in the future): Primarily growth-oriented financial instruments such as stocks that might be more volatile but have higher growth potential over the long term.

Throughout your retirement, you can shift nest egg dollars from the long-term bucket to the other two buckets. This would allow you to have short-term and mid-term dollars available.

Timing Your Retirement Withdrawals

One common rule of thumb for determining the amount of your annual withdrawals is the “4% rule.” According to this strategy, you initially withdraw 4% of your portfolio, increasing the amount annually to account for inflation. However, some experts consider this approach to be too aggressive. So you might withdraw more or less depending on your personal situation and index performance.

Regardless of the amount you decide to withdraw from your nest egg, timing your retirement withdrawals is critical. The three-part strategy enables you to monitor activity in your mid-term and long-term buckets while drawing only from the more stable short-term bucket of cash alternatives. You could then shift nest egg dollars as appropriate based on your needs and longer-term index cycles.

If timing your retirement is important for you, consider restructuring your portfolio before you retire. This provides flexibility to adjust your nest egg dollars. Even with careful planning, retirement can bring surprises. So, be selective and wise in your decision-making.

Asset allocation is a method to help manage fluctuation in your nest egg dollar growth; it does not guarantee a profit or protect against product or financial instrument losses.

Sources:
1) Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2015

Freeman Owen, Jr -Retirement Specialist

Your retirement plan is important. Have you consulted with a professional about it? You should. Let’s talk.

Meet me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office at 1-833-313-7233 | MD, VA & DC.