All retirees pray that they will have enough cash to see them comfortably through their retirement years. The alternative is obviously more ominous – that they will outlive the comfort of their savings. The truth that most baby boomers have yet to comprehend that even through they will have their parents savings and life insurance plans to live off of we are living longer. Baby boomers will need to carry themselves on their retirement savings many times longer than life span that actuaries used in their precious calculations.
The magic retirement age of 65 was historically chosen not arbitrarily by the German Kaiser in the introduction of the first pension plans as this at the time was the average life span of most male workers. As most baby boomers know and anticipate modern medicine and conveniences have pushed that envelope. You may like it or not before your retirement savings anticipated a 10 year payout period. Now it may be closer to 25 to 30 years.
The thought of having to lower their standards of living and giving up some luxuries to make end meet is for many people, the most worrying aspect of their leisure years. Often, though, the imagined fears are exaggerated. It is often said that 99 % of the things you fear will never come to pass. But why chance it. The basic rule is that by not planning and leaving things to the last moment severely limits your options and causes unnecessary stress and worry.
The good news is that those who planned their finances carefully during their working years will adjust with ease, and their retirement years can be the most enjoyable years of their existence.
Part of the secret knows to manage one’s savings in retirement. Basically today’s workers are looking at two choices. They can work longer so that they can spend more or they can retire sooner and spend less. Another option is to do a bit of both and reduce your workload and in effect semi-retire. By planning ahead you may well have more than one option.
Taking early retirement before your pension begins offers a number of options. You can downsize your house to free up some of your tax free holdings – and live on that pool of cash. This is especially a valuable option now with low interest rates drive large increases in the value of real estate and as well creating a frenzy of buyers willing to snap up your property. If the retiree has profited from company stock options they can use these to bridge them over until the time their company pension plan kicks in. Or they can withdraw from their 401k plans if allowed or withdraw from their savings.
Managing one’s investments does not stop at retirement. Individual income, needs and expenditures will vary, but when liquidating investments a tax efficiency strategy will conserve more of your hard earned investment dollars.
If you are not to be dictated by your tax bracket you should keep foremost in your mind when you are trying to figure out strategies. The goal is not how much you make; it is how you much you keep. The same of course is true when cashing in investment vehicles. You always have to be conscious of the tax consequences.
Much of retirement planning strategy depends on the difference between the two tax brackets at the time if investing during your tax earning years compared to your tax bracket during withdrawal in your retirement years.
Remember those that those that fail to plan ahead will plan to fail.
Amy F. Goodmann