Retirement may look different than you think

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When you ask someone when they would like to retire, one common response is “I’m never going to retire!”  They go on to explain that this is because they love their job and cannot imagine not working each day, OR that their finances and savings will not allow retirement.

What usually is not considered in those responses is the “what if” component.  Specifically, what if plans just don’t work out the way we picture retirement?  Many times circumstances beyond our control such as a health crisis or the needs of other family members, get in the way of these assumptions and plans.

So what can you do right now to begin identifying whether or not you could retire if you HAD to:

  1. Create a budget—write down your necessary and discretionary expenses so you know how much youwill need to live on.   Remember important costs for health insurance, living expenses, and don’t forget to include entries for travel, or sports, or other activities you wish to take advantage of in your golden years.
  2. Take inventory of any income resources such as Social Security and pensions that will help cover the expenses identified in the budget.Obtain a recent Social Security benefit estimate statement at www.ssa.gov to learn about your monthly benefit and the ages at which you can begin those benefits.
  3. Inventory the financial assets such as savings, retirement accounts, etc that will be available to supplement your income resources.Don’t forget to factor in taxes as most retirement money will be taxed at withdrawal.

Having a plan for when you WANT to retire is good, but having a back-up plan in case you NEED to retire is vital.  Check back next month when we will discuss other components of a strong retirement plan. 

Deborah E. Pajak, CFP®, ChFC®, CLTC, CDFA™ is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory, and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC, member SIPC. 5001 Louise Dr. Suite 300, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 (717) 791-3300. CRN202101-242605