Basics of Retirement Planning
Retirement Planning is the process of creating a realistic strategy for funding your retirement that balances current financial needs with expected retirement needs many years into the future.
A successful retirement is the highest financial priority for many people. Because of the long-term nature of retirement and all of the variables that go into determining potential success or failure, it is often the most difficult financial goal for which to plan.
Items to consider when creating a retirement plan:
With average life expectancy now in the 80s it is likely that you could experience a retirement period that lasts 20-30 years. Your plan must be flexible enough to account for a long retirement.
Expenses and Inflation
Inflation is always a powerful enemy in any retirement plan, especially for a retirement that could last multiple decades. Your living expenses could increase multiple times over a long retirement. And, certain expenses such as medical expenses could easily outpace inflation.
Any extra income, whether from part-time work or from delayed retirement, could make a substantial difference in your retirement income. Your selected social security start date can also make a meaningful difference.
Almost everyone will need to augment their retirement income with withdrawals from their portfolio assets. Many recent studies have indicated the importance of reasonable and sustainable withdrawal rates. A generally accepted withdrawal rate is 4%, but every case is different.
It is always important to have a reasonable asset allocation, but it is especially important in or near retirement since your time horizon to recoup any losses is shorter. A proper allocation that balances income needs with growth needs is critical. Asset allocation does not guarantee a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market.
Other financial goals (purchasing a vacation home or subsidizing your parents’ care for example) will impact your retirement. This analysis will take into account any other goals you have defined.