You Could Go It Alone, But Here’s Why We Don’t Recommend It
You might have seen a late-night infomercial or two that promises to sell you something that will make your life infinitely easier. While we can’t vouch for whether their claims are true, we do know one thing that will do the trick: a good retirement planner.
Sure, a retirement planner might not slice and dice, nor are they available in stores, but they do have abilities that will come in handy, especially during these four major life events in retirement.
When You Near Retirement
While you could theoretically just pick a date for retirement and quit your job when it arrives, chances are you’d like the peace of mind of knowing you’ve picked that day with good reason. That’s where the expertise of a retirement planner can help, especially in the critical 5-10 years before you leave the workforce.
A retirement planner will help you crunch the numbers to formulate a timeframe for retirement you can feel good about and adjust your strategy accordingly to ensure that you’re not taking on too much risk as the date nears. If your plan involves steps into retirement—like working part-time for five years before you fully retire—a retirement planner can help you develop an investment strategy calibrated to those nuances while rebalancing your portfolio accordingly along the way.
Finally, a retirement planner can help you calculate what your spending needs will be in retirement and ensure that you’ve saved enough to support your current standard of living now and in the future. That includes planning for inflation, which your planner will do in their modeling, to reduce the worry that you’ll run out of money.
When You Enter Retirement
The hard work is done, right? Only if you already have a retirement planner. In fact, you may need a retirement planner now more than ever so you can avoid the common pitfalls in retirement that traditional planners often miss.
First up: controlling expenses so your money goes farther. If you’re working with a retirement planner, they’ll help you optimize your portfolio for retirement by minimizing your exposure to market risk and recommending only low-cost or no-fee investments. As an added bonus, if you’re working with a retirement planner who bills a flat fee for their service (like our team at Golden Reserve), that could also help reduce your advisor fees going forward.
Healthcare is a big expense too, but a retirement planner will make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to so you can limit your out-of-pocket costs, while carrying sufficient coverage to protect you but not overextend you in monthly premiums. Plus, because they specialize in this life stage, your retirement planner may have valuable insights into Medicare enrollment that could make the process easier to navigate.
And here’s another area where you can take a sigh of relief: tax planning. Your retirement planner will have done extensive tax planning to help keep your tax burden as low as possible. They’ll have put in place a de-tax draw strategy for your retirement accounts, so you know which one to draw down first and when and have a plan to maintain a lower tax rate in the event that one spouse passes before another.
In addition to making sure your money lasts, a retirement planner will make sure any assets you plan to leave behind go the distance, too. That means helping you put the right strategies in place, both financial and legal, to minimize the taxes your beneficiaries will pay down the line and keep your estate out of probate. In order to do that, you’ll need to keep your estate plan up to date, which is why a retirement planner will prompt you to meet with your attorney at regular intervals.
While you’re meeting with the estate planning attorney, you might also want to discuss long-term care. Which brings us to our next life stage…
In Case You Need Long-Term Care
Should you need long-term care, you’ll be glad to have planned for the expense. And even if you’re lucky enough not to need long-term care, you’ll appreciate knowing you had a plan in place to protect you from financial ruin.
While that may sound dramatic, there are no two ways about it—long-term care is astronomically expensive. At an average cost of more than $90,000 per year for a private room in a nursing home, it’s more than most retirees can afford. That’s where a good retirement planner comes in.
A good retirement planner will have this expense on their radar and set the wheels in motion to prepare you long before the possibility of long-term care arises. Based on your financial situation, your retirement planner will consider a number of options—including self-funding, insurance, any government benefits to which you may be entitled, and legal strategies such as asset protection trusts—and present you with the best ones. In the event that you need a legal tool like a trust, they’ll help you get set up with the estate attorney in a timely fashion.
When You Pass
Your planner’s commitment to you lasts beyond a lifetime, because even when you pass, they’ll still be there to support your loved ones per any directions you’ve outlined in your will. They’ll coordinate with estate attorneys and help with account information as needed. If, like Golden Reserve, your planner included tax preparation as part of their service, then they will have the information necessary for the preparation of your final tax return. These services aren’t only convenient, but also a measure of comfort.
While a retirement planner isn’t as slick as that product on late-night tv, they could be the wisest investment you can make. And unlike that slick product, your relationship with a good planner truly does last forever.
Do you need a good retirement planner? Let’s get in touch.