Many people spend more time planning an annual vacation than they do for their retirement. This is unfortunate in that many of the decisions you make at retirement have long lasting consequences, and some bad choices can be very detrimental to an otherwise enjoyable period in your life.
Here are some things you should do before you call it quits. Number one, get a handle on your balance sheet. You need to know what you own and what you owe. If you have a lot of debt that will be hard to cover, you better be cautious. You also need to look carefully at your assets and include all of your various company benefits you might have accrued over the years. Two-thirds of Americans worry about having enough money for retirement and almost half of those feel they have not saved enough.
Next evaluate your life insurance needs. Life insurance awareness month was September, but as advocates for life insurance with our investment and planning clients, every month is life insurance awareness month. According to LIMRA, almost 40% of Americans do not own any life insurance. Many feel they need more coverage but do not know correct ways to buy coverage. They might research purchasing insurance online but would rather buy in person. Many feel that insurance is just too expensive and other bills get in the way. So, people want insurance and conduct research online but then stop the process. At this point it is important to get local help.
You need to take stock of pensions and their options. As mentioned, you may have accrued different company benefit plans over the years and these can include pensions, stock option plans, 401(k) plans, SEPs, IRAs etc. At some point a consolidation and analysis is in order. These plans need to supplement your pension and social security income so they all play a part in piecing together a good retirement.
In addition to life insurance, you need to assess your long term care (LTC) needs. Are you a candidate for LTC coverage? Care expenses can wipe out a huge amount of money and this is especially disastrous for the spouse or survivor. So part of the evaluation here is getting proper legal advice on your needs and how to protect your spouse and estate.
Set up your team. Here’s the selfless commercial. You need a team working for you at this point. This would consist of your Investment Advisors, tax professional, legal advisor etc., and someone has to run point on this. The main mission on an Investment Advisory team is to provide the leadership and planning to make retirement not only possible, but enjoyable.
Mark Nabell is a managing partner of Nabell Winslow Investments and Wealth Mangement, a regional advice and investment advisory firm located in Wilmington, NC he can be reached at [email protected]
Securities and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisors LLC, member FINRA, SIPC. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult your legal or tax professional for specific information regarding your individual situation.