There are many rules of thumb about how much money you should withdraw from your retirement accounts every year. One of the more popular ones is that you should withdraw 4 percent of your retirement funds each year. Another one is you will need approximately 70 to 80 percent of your last year’s working income to carry you through retirement.
These are good generalities however you need to evaluate your specific situation and circumstance to come up with a plan that works for you. The reality is that everyone’s retirement goals are different and should be planned based on specific needs, not general rules of thumb. Following are some things to consider when building your own retirement plan.
Define a vision of retirement and revisit it every year: Anyone who has worked with a good investment manager or financial planner has addressed the kind of retirement they envision. Incorporating part-time work into the retirement picture might make other financial goals more affordable. A person who manages his or her finances or works with an expert needs to revisit those goals annually to assess the feasibility of affording a particular lifestyle in retirement.
Track working-life expenses for 3-6 months: This is where that vision of retirement becomes real. Understanding what an individual spends on lattes and late-night carryout may motivate an investor to shift his behavior from spending to saving.
Create a worst-case health scenario: For many retirees, increasing healthcare expenses and the cost of end-of-life-care account for significant spending. As a result, many retirees may pay for expensive experimental treatments to fight disease or long-term assisted living or nursing home care. According to AARP, annual nursing home costs will be at more than $100,000 a year in the next two decades compared to their current annual range of $45,000-$60,000. While public aid picks up medical expenses for those who exhaust their assets in most states, most of us desire more than minimal standards of care.
Shift into a retirement investment strategy in stages: With a clear majority of investors having inadequate retirement funds in place near or at retirement age, it may seem silly to talk about investing post-retirement. But the younger an investor is, the more valuable the conversation. Good advisers can help build more balanced portfolios that fit the exact needs of the investor as retirement nears.
See how long you can put off taking Social Security: Even though no one will get rich off of Social Security, delaying taking those payments will result in larger payments later.
This article was produced in part by the Financial Planning Association, the membership organization for the financial planning community.