Blogged by: Juan Munoz CFP®, AIF®, CRC®, AAMS®
Understanding Retirement Planning
One of the most common and misunderstood topics of financial planning is retirement income distributions. It seems that not many people know how much to save when to retire and how much to take during retirement. When it comes to saving and spending for retirement, I think of running a full marathon because it takes planning, training, dedication, and execution.
A good friend of mine has done so many marathons that I think she looks for them almost a year ahead plus a few last minute ones. I find it very interesting how she prepares for every single race like it is the only thing that matters. She technically trains all year long, but she seems to push herself more when she gets close to the race.
I think my friend’s success is because she has a consistent goal set and she is always trying to do better than the race before. She has finished in the top ten and qualified for the Boston Marathon several times, but it seems like it is about just getting better results.
The reason why I think that retirement planning and marathons are so similar is because they both have a hypothetical “goal” a finish line. It requires a lot of time, adjustments and commitment to “save” train. Once the race starts there is a little bit of mental preparedness and doing a little research “planning” on the trail.
The only problem here is that you can not have a do-over in retirement, unlike a marathon. The biggest discovery that I find when I meet with someone about financial planning is that people assume that they are going to be ok.
Where do you Start Planning for Retirement?
- Americans between ages 55-64 have only saved 12 percent of what they need to fund a secure retirement.
- Do you Medicare or not? Health care costs will average about $285,000 for a couple during retirement.
- “The average Social Security retirement benefit payment is $1,413 per month, while the possible maximum monthly benefit is currently $2,788.”
- Plus having to account for longevity, long term care, nursing/assisted home is not accounted for by most Americans.
How do you Prepare for Retirement?
I wish it was as simple as preparing for a race, but a full marathon takes commitment:
- Keep in mind that retirement will be potentially the largest expense that you will incur in your life so do not think that you can ignore it or not act on it.
- Set a healthy savings rate, most advisors will use 10-15% but that is not correct. Your retirement plan is unique and as such your savings rate should be as well. I would suggest running a hypothetical projection to determine where you are and where you want to be every year.
- We all have expenses, but you must balance all your goals. Setting all your goals side by side and taking into account the time horizon is also extremely important to do every year.
- Adjust, review and monitor consistently or hire a financial planner that can help you figure it out before is too late.
And if you ever decide that you want to start running a marathon, do not forget there is also a process to follow. Check the following website for some direction:
Ready to start planning for your retirement? Please feel free to reach out!