How to Financially Prepare for Retirement

It’s all fun and games to think about never working another day and relaxing on a beach somewhere, but unfortunately, life is not a Jimmy Buffet song. Retirement can be complicated, or at least certainly not as simple as we hope, which is why it is so important to be prepared. When you think about retirement, make sure you have a clear vision of what it will look like and how much that vision will cost.

Make a game plan

Do you have dreams of moving somewhere tropical or want to stay put? What will your bills be like month-to-month? How much money will you need per month for living expenses? These are all very important questions to think about yourself or talk over with a spouse.

Before it’s time for you to retire, identify defined goals and a plan for this phase of life. This means having “two week trip to Italy” on the list rather than just “travel.” It is important to know exactly what you need to plan for before the time comes. The more specific, the better!

Have a list of financial questions (and answer them!)

This is a big one. Start a running list of financial questions in the years leading up to retirement, and answer every single one of them. Here are some sample questions to get you started:

  • How much is in my savings?
  • What portion of my savings is set aside for retirement?
  • Do I want to sell my home?
  • Do I want to move?
  • Will my spouse or I be working part-time?
  • When will I begin collecting Social Security benefits?

Now is a good time to start seeking out helpful resources if you don’t know the answers to these questions! Our Senior Financial Group team can help.

Learn about your Social Security benefits

As you or your spouse work and pay Social Security taxes over the years, you build your Social Security “credits”, which can be used towards benefits in the future. The longer you work – the more credits you earn. The majority of people need 10 years of work (or 40 “credits”) to qualify for Social Security benefits.

Full Social Security benefit is only available if you retire after you turn 66-67 (varies depending on year of birth). Learn more about how Social Security credits work here. Calculating your Social Security benefit can help you answer the question of when you can retire, so you can figure out when you can afford to retire based on your goals and future income.

For more on Social Security, read our previous blog here.

Social Security and SFG

For more technical questions and answers regarding Social Security schedule a call or in-person consultation with Heather Majka, Certified Social Security Claiming Strategist, or visit the Social Security website. You can also fill out and submit our Social Security evaluation form here. It is a good idea to discuss with Heather before going to Social Security.

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