The Top 5 Questions to Prepare for Retirement

As you prepare for retirement, there are so many questions that it can be overwhelming. Today, I’ve narrowed down my top 5 questions to help you prepare for retirement.

Decades ago, there was a book entitled What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School. Perhaps someday, another book will appear to discuss certain aspects of the retirement experience that go unrecognized – you know, the “fine print.” 

Today, we’re diving into a few fine print items that pop up in retirement and how to navigate around these snafus.

If you’re thinking of making changes or need help navigating your own personal situation, please be sure to contact our office before making any changes. We can help you look at all angles of your circumstances and create a strategy that’s aligned with your financial goals.

How will you save in retirement?

More and more baby boomers are retiring with the hope that they can become centenarians. That may prove true thanks to healthcare advances and generally healthier lifestyles.

We all save for retirement; with our increasing longevity, we will also need to save in retirement for the (presumed) decades ahead.

That means more than budgeting; it means investing with growth and tax efficiency in mind year after year. 

Could your cash flow be more important than your savings?

While the #1 retirement fear is someday running out of money, your income stream may actually prove more important than your retirement nest egg.

How great will the income stream be from your accumulated wealth?1  

You might have heard of the 4% rule, the concept that retirees should plan to withdraw 4% of the funds in their retirement account balance for each year of retirement.

The truth is, figuring out how much money you can or should withdraw each year from your retirement account is a complicated calculation that’s often best left to a financial professional.2 

Related: The Top Questions to Consider Before You Retire

Opinions vary, and your strategy should always take into account your unique situation.

For example, some research suggests that 3.3% is a better goal than 4%. That means, assuming a $1 million account balance, you’d withdraw $33,000 instead of $40,000 during your first year of retirement.

A $7,000 annual difference could present you with significant budgeting decisions to make.2

What will you begin doing in retirement?

In the classic retirement dream, every day feels like a Saturday. Your reward for decades of work is 24/7 freedom. But might all that freedom leave you bored?

Impossible, you say? It happens.

Some people retire with only a vague idea of “what’s next”. After a few months or years, they find themselves in the doldrums. Shouldn’t they be doing something with all that time on their hands? 

A goal-oriented retirement has its virtues.

Purpose leads to objectives, objectives lead to strategies, and strategies can impart some structure and order to your days and weeks – and that can help cure retirement listlessness.

Related: How to Mentally Prepare for Retirement

As you prepare for retirement, will your spouse want to live the way that you live?

Many couples retire with shared goals, but they find that their ambitions and day-to-day routines differ. Over time, this dissonance can be aggravating.

A conversation or two may help you iron out potential conflicts. While your spouse’s “picture” of retirement will not simply be a mental photocopy of your own, the variance in retirement visions may surprise you.  

Related: How to Have Conversations about Finances with Family

When should you (and your spouse) claim Social Security benefits?

“As soon as possible” may not be the wisest answer. An analysis is needed, where we run the numbers with you to see what makes sense for your financial situation.

If you can wait and apply for Social Security strategically, you might realize as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars more in benefits over your lifetimes.

Remember your goals when you prepare for retirement

There are so many personal factors when it comes to preparing for your retirement. My goal is to help navigate and provide all the education I can to help you make the right decision for your personal circumstances.

I know there’s a ton of information to take in, and I would love to help you sort it all out. What questions do you have for us here at WAG? 

We’re happy to work with you either in person, over the phone, or virtually, based on your preference. Give our office a call and we can schedule some time together.