As you plan for retirement, most of your concerns probably fall into two main categories: Enjoying your retirement and affording your retirement. As you're saving money and making plans, you know that inflation and a longer life span are working against you to constrict your budget and restrict your potential lifestyle in the future.
What if there was one thing you can do, that would both increase your happiness while cutting certain expenses in retirement? As it turns out, there is. And the answer might surprise you.
Commit to a healthier diet and regular exercise, and lose 15 pounds now.
At first glance, you might wonder what your weight has to do with your eventual retirement. But when you consider the following facts, the answers become more clear.
As a nation, our health care costs are rising due to a number of factors. But consistently we hear that our junk food diets, sedentary lifestyles, and obesity are linked to more health problems and the financial consequences that come along with illness. As you take control over your own health, you also gain a measure of control over your own health care expenses. The effects of being overweight increase as we age, so the longer you stay overweight, the more out-of-pocket healthcare expenses you can expect in retirement.
Aside from health care expenses in retirement, regular exercise might actually increase your earning potential now! Researchers have described a link between exercise and a higher income.
Since exercise improves your mood and increases mental acuity, it is theorized that it will also help you boost productivity at work. While the main objective of exercise is to enjoy better health both now and later, it might actually help you earn (and save) more money! It's certainly worth the effort to improve your health, lower future medical bills, and enjoy a happier, healthier retirement.
Ideally, workers would begin planning for retirement early in their careers, and they would be able to comfortably retire at some point in their 60s. But we don't live in an ideal world, and many of us may have made mistakes or failed to plan for retirement when we were younger. It's very common to worry and wonder whether you will really be ready to retire.
Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but you can follow these three steps to see if you're on the right track toward retirement.
Calculate your projected retirement income. Plug your personal information into a retirement income calculator, such as your age, salary, your rate of savings, and your expected retirement date. You might also enter your expected Social Security benefits.
Assess your retirement income. The retirement calculator will generate a number for you, based upon the income you can expect to receive from investments, pensions, Social Security, and so on. It will be expressed as a percentage of your current income. In most cases, it's a good idea to reach 70 percent of your current income. If your number is at least 70, you're probably on track toward a comfortable retirement. If your number is lower than 70, you might have some work to do.
Adjust your retirement plan. If your outlook isn't so rosy, you will need to make some adjustments to your plan. You could increase your rate of savings, taking advantage of catch-up contributions, or work a few years longer than you expected. You can also consider working part-time in retirement in order to increase your income. Pay down debts before you retire, and make a plan for unexpected expenses such as long term nursing care or out-of-pocket health care expenses.
Work through these steps with a certified financial planner. If you're experiencing significant anxieties about retirement, please call our office at (712) 332-5960 for a complimentary consultation. We can help you find ways to boost your savings, reduce your expenses, or rearrange your financial priorities.
We all pay taxes into the Social Security system, and we all expect to claim our benefits someday. And yet, despite widespread use of the program, most people really don't know much about it! If you have concerns about the Social Security program, read on for answers to the most common questions.
Will Social Security even be around when I retire?You've probably heard the dire news reports about the Social Security fund “running out of money”. Every election season, politicians fiercely debate the different methods of fixing the “broken” public program. And yet, that information is not entirely accurate. Yes, there is a budget shortfall within the system, and it will begin to impact Social Security recipients by about 2035. At that point, Social Security will not disappear entirely, but benefits may be reduced by about one third of originally scheduled amounts.
Of course, that's all assuming that we don't find a way to fix the shortfall. Considering the fact that politicians will have a large number of angry voters on their hands if they don't fix it, there is an excellent chance that the Social Security shortfall scenario will never see the light of day. We have about twenty years to correct the problem!
When can I file for benefits? Many people are confused about when they can claim their Social Security benefits. According to the Administration, your full retirement age is based upon your year of birth, and will fall between ages 65 and 67. If you wait until full retirement age to claim your benefits, you will receive your full scheduled amount. However, you can also file for benefits as early as age 62, if you don't mind receiving a smaller check. Or, you can wait a few extra years and earn a larger monthly benefit.
What will happen to my benefits if I decide to work in retirement? You may have heard that if you work while claiming Social Security benefits, your benefits can be taxed. This is only the case if you decide to retire earlier than your full retirement age. In that case, your monthly check will be reduced according to a complex formula. However, you will earn an increased payment when you reach full retirement age.
Once you reach full retirement age, you can work and earn as much as you want, without your benefits being taxed as a result.
This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.
While planning for retirement, many of us find ourselves focusing on particular numbers. We decide to retire at a certain age, and we decide to save a particular amount of money. It's much easier to work toward a goal when we can see an end point! However, we often find that our “retirement number” can change over the years. Don't get too attached to a particular age or retirement savings goal, because the following factors can make an impact upon your plans.
Future returns. When you initially decided upon a projected retirement age, you based that in part upon the date at which you expect your retirement plan contributions to earn a particular amount of money. In other words, you guessed at when you would reach your retirement savings goal. But because the market can be unpredictable, it's nearly impossible to know exactly when you will accumulate a particular amount of money. You can control your savings rate and your investment choices, but you can't make the market do exactly as you wish.
Inflation. We often assume that inflation will happen at about a 3 percent annual rate. That doesn't sound so bad, until you consider the fact that over 25 years, that means prices on almost everything could double! Now consider the fact that your original retirement plan was based upon today's budget, and you might not feel ready to live on a fixed income for two decades or longer! Of course, some people worry so much about inflation that they delay their retirements even more than necessary.
Budget. We all set our retirement goals based upon the cost of our expected lifestyles in retirement. But as we progress in our careers, we often find ourselves enjoying a higher standard of living. It can be hard to go back to a more frugal approach to life, so often we see that people delay their retirements in order to save and prepare a bit more.
No one is saying that you shouldn't set a goal for your retirement savings, or decide upon a date for your retirement. Just remember that these plans aren't set in stone, and you might be happiest if you can adopt a flexible approach to retirement planning.
Carstens Financial Group focuses on providing comprehensive asset management, estate planning and life insurance solutions. Allow us to help you secure your financial future.