Money & Career
Seven, the Magic Number for a Sound Retirement
6/3/2013 12:59:37 PM

Step number one is to take an inventory of all your assets. This inventory should include not only the amounts in your bank, retirement and savings accounts, but also things like your home, a business stake, cars, etc. "Your home is perhaps your biggest asset and could play a huge role in your retirement planning. Should you consider downsizing into a more manageable home before retirement or is it possible for you to pay off your home before your retirement, eliminating this monthly note? Each asset should be reviewed in this manner during the inventory process,” explained John W. Fusilier, CEO with First National Bank DeRidder.

Step number two is to review your insurance policies. Are your home, auto, health, life and disabilities enough to cover any future needs? In addition to renewing these policies and costs associated with them, long-term care policies are another aspect to consider.

Step number three is to compare your expenses against your anticipated income. To make any retirement plan work in reality, you must first make it work on paper. Put it down in black and white now and figure out if you will have enough income to not only meet your expenses, but also to be equipped with a rainy day fund in the event of life’s unexpected expenses.

Step number four is to make sure your funds will actually last through your retirement. It is not enough to simply match your expenditures to your anticipated income. You need to make sure the nest egg you’ve built will last you through the rest of your life. It’s hard to factor in unknown conditions such as inflation rates, life expectancy, future medical needs, etc. "If after crunching these numbers, you find the present value of your expenses is greater than the present value of your assets, you’ve got some adjusting to do,” said Fusilier. "The good news is, there are a lot of adjustments to make, such as delaying your retirement or plan to work part time. You can also consider trimming your expenses or look into a more tax-efficient income drawdown plan.”

Step number five involves categorizing your assets so you can determine which you will rely on during specific terms of your retirement. For example, assets needed to fund your early retirement should be liquid in order to maximize tax savings. The assets you use to fund your intermediate years can consist of laddered investments such as five-to-ten year treasury bond or laddered fixed-interest deferred annuities. "Your later years can be funded by things like longevity insurance, growth and income portfolios, laddered income annuities and life insurance to name a few,” Fusilier explained.

Step number six is to be sure that you only invest in things that are suitable for your risk tolerance, investment knowledge and the capacity for your portfolio to accommodate the volatility of the market.

Finally, step number seven is to keep your plan current. Your financial situation can change on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Taking this into consideration, a retirement plan is not meant to be written and then set on a shelf. Review it quarterly or annually when you file your income tax or experience a major life change.

Posted by: Katie Harrington | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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