Read up on retirement planning in America, and you come across some pretty startling statistics:
- One in three Americans have no retirement savings. The same number of people say they expect to work in retirement to supplement their income
- More than 40 percent of single seniors over 65 get at least 90 percent of their income from Social Security
- Even healthy couples will pay close to $400,000 on health care in retirement
With all that in mind, it becomes painfully apparent how important it is to plan for retirement, yet it’s a process that many people aren’t even sure how to approach.
With that in mind, we’d like to suggest some questions you should ask to help start putting together your retirement plan.
1. What do you picture when you hear think about your retirement?
How will you spend your time? Will you travel? Volunteer? Try a new career? Maybe you want to downsize to a new home. Perhaps you want to work part-time or pick up contract work to supplement your income. Take a minute to write down your ideas for retirement, and – if you’re married – have your spouse do the same.
2. What kind of assets do you have?
Your assets go beyond just what you have in your bank or retirement accounts. What kind of property do you own? Do you own artwork? Rare coins? A mint condition Spiderman comic? Take a look at your investments and see how they can help finance your retirement.
3. How can you cut costs?
When you figure out which expenses you can get rid of, you can save more money for when you retire. By living more frugally in the present, you’ll be able to be a bit more comfortable in the future.
4. How is your health?
A healthy lifestyle can mean the difference between a more comfortable retirement and one spent just scraping by as you try to pay for medical care.
Make sure you’re up to date on your check-ups and health screenings. Knowing the state of your health can help you plan for your retirement. The sooner you get this done, the sooner you can start making changes that will pay off down the road.
5. When should you tap into Social Security?
Questions about Social Security are something an attorney can help you decide, but in most cases, the longer you wait to take benefits, the more you’ll receive. We recognize that this isn’t always an option. Assess your expenses and talk to a professional to help you decide.
6. How can I plan for the unexpected?
Your retirement plans should make room for the possibility that you might need long-term care, or that the day might come where you’re unable to make essential decisions on your own.
Talk to an attorney about creating legal protections for yourself and your family in the form of a will, living will and power of attorney.
Are you planning your retirement and aren’t sure which steps you need to take? Contact Newman Elder Law. Our retirement planning experts are ready to work with you and your family to put you on a smooth path to retirement.