Three Critical Questions to Help You Know What You Want Out of Retirement
Gain Clarity on What You’d Like Your Golden Years to Look Like
We may sound like a broken record, but this bears repeating: A written retirement income plan is critical in setting you up for an enjoyable retirement free from financial stress. However, there are three critical questions you need to answer for yourself in order to clarify and solidify your plan. After all, any retirement plan can only be effective if you truly know what you want out of your retirement, right?
Take the time to ask yourself the three questions below, and make sure you answer them honestly. This exercise will help you sharpen your focus on what retirement means to you and what you want out of this phase of life. Then, use the added clarity to develop the best-written retirement income plan for you.
Critical Question #1: Why Are You Saving for Retirement?
On its face, this question seems like it has an obvious answer. But, try to think outside the box – this question isn’t about why people, in general, save for retirement. It’s about why you, personally, are saving for this phase of your life.
Is it because you want to feel financially secure above all else? Maybe it’s because you want money to spend in retirement on traveling the world or taking up new hobbies. Or, it’s possible you want to live off the interest and leave your nest egg to your children and grandchildren.
There’s no right or wrong answer. The point is to get to know yourself and your motivations better. This way, you can gain more confidence in writing a retirement plan that lets you enjoy your golden years in the way that you want to.
Here’s an example scenario of how this sort of self-knowledge can come in handy:
Let’s say you and your financial advisor run an income analysis and you see that you can spend $1,500 more per month than what you’re likely to need on necessary living expenses. What are your plans for that extra money? You could save it for a rainy day, spend it having fun, or in any other manner that suits your goals. If you’ve already taken the time to examine your underlying motivations for saving, you can make the decision that best suits your retirement lifestyle.
SEE ALSO: Your Roadmap to Success: A Comprehensive Written Retirement Income Plan
Critical Question #2: Do You Have Concerns About Paying for Long-Term Care?
If you’ve done any research at all, you know that long-term care can be very expensive – and that nearly 70% of retirees will need it at some point. So, which camp do you find yourself in?
- You’re planning ahead to factor long-term care insurance into your retirement plan.
- You aren’t worried about it – you’ll get care in a Medicaid facility if needed, even if the Medicaid spend-down means no nest egg to leave to your heirs.
- You want a standard of care greater than what usually comes with a government-funded facility and you’re willing to spend your nest egg on it.
Once again, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Planning for potential long-term care in a nursing home or similar facility is a very personal decision. If you know that you want particular things, like a guarantee of a personal room, you should probably factor long-term care into your written retirement plan.
In a scenario like the one discussed above, how would you use that extra $1,500 each month if you didn’t have a long-term care plan in place? If you know your own feelings about long-term care, you and your financial advisor can decide on the best strategy for you.
SEE ALSO: How to Design a Retirement Asset Allocation for Safety, Growth & Income for Life
Critical Question #3: How Much Do You Want to Leave to Your Heirs?
Deciding how much you want to spend in retirement is really only one piece of the puzzle. You need to decide how much of your nest egg you want to leave behind as a legacy for your children, grandchildren, or favorite charity, too.
Many people don’t care how much they leave behind as long as they can meet their own goals in retirement – namely, not to outlive their money. Other people very much want to leave something behind for future generations.
If you do want to pass on your wealth, you’ll have to get strategic about the best way to do so. You may need to think about a gifting strategy, whether you need to buy additional life insurance or even a Roth conversion strategy. It all depends on what you want to accomplish.
Here’s another thing to consider: Even if you don’t particularly care about how much of your estate is left once you’re gone, you may care very much about how much of it will go to the government in the form of estate taxes. If you’ve never thought of it that way before, ask yourself how you would feel if you knew, hypothetically, that 50% of your estate would go to taxes upon your passing. Would you do anything differently right now in order to change that outcome?
Final Thoughts on Getting Clear About What You Want Out of Retirement
People have different goals for retirement, and that’s okay. The goal of an exercise like asking yourself the three questions above is to home in on what retirement means for you. Whether your overarching goal is to protect yourself, to have fun spending your hard-earned money, or to preserve what you have for your heirs, a written plan can make you feel more confident about accomplishing your goals.
At Peak Financial Freedom Group, we believe a written retirement income plan is crucial – and that you get the most out of it when you know what you really want out of your retirement. If you’re ready for a customized retirement plan you can feel confident putting in writing, schedule a consultation with us today.