If you’re thinking of retiring in 2018, here we suggest a few things which you should consider carefully before deciding to close the working chapter of your life for good.
Consider whether your savings are adequate
As our life expectancies continue to lengthen, it is more important than ever to do the math and make sure that you have enough money to support you for many years or even decades into the future. You could do this, for example, by getting an annuity, which acts as a sort-of post-work salary that you receive on a regular basis. You could also use the IRS Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) tables to help you, with these RMD tables specifying the amount of money you have to withdraw from tax-advantaged retirement accounts every year starting at the age of 70 ½. This method is more responsive to market fluctuations than some other methods, making it ideal.
When deciding whether your savings are adequate, be sure to take absolutely all of your expenses into consideration. As well as your bare-bones living costs and bills, be sure to consider things such as healthcare, food, vacations, gifts, and more. You may have to allocate more money for casual spending than you do right now, as many retirees suddenly find themselves spending money more easily in their free time, despite their best intentions to be thrifty. It’s easy to get bored and spend money when you’re retired, so don’t forget this!
Find out whether you are entitled to Social Security
Most US citizens rely on Social Security as a major means of retirement income, although some may use it as an additional source of post-work income. The age at which your retire affects your Social Security benefit amounts, so bear in mind that FRA (full retirement age) varies according to your birth year due to changed policies. If you were born 1943-1954 then it’s 66 and if you were born in 1960 or later then it’s 67.
Retiring before FRA is possible, but your Social Security benefits will be reduced by 5/9 of 1% per month up to 36 months early. It will also be reduced by 5/12 of 1% per month beyond 36 months early. You can claim Social Security benefits as early as 62, but you’ll receive considerably less income than if you retire at FRA or even later, with people retiring at 70 maxing out their monthly checks. The longer you wait to retire, the more you’ll receive in benefits, but this isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone.
Think about your healthcare costs
Unless you plan on moving to Canada or Europe sometime soon, you’re going to have to think about your healthcare costs as you age. Although Medicare can help you if you’re 65 or older, there is a cornucopia of healthcare costs which Medicare doesn’t cover, such as eye/ear care and nursing home fees. Seniors also face sky-high premiums on insurance policies due to their age, so bear this in mind too. It may be worth looking into Obamacare to help with your healthcare coverage.
Assess your tax situation
You are still taxed when you take money out of your retirement accounts, so be sure to plan for this. The only exceptions are funds coming from a Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA. Recent tax reform passed in 2017 has made changes to tax rates and tax deductions, so it’s important to assess your complete tax liability following your retirement. For example, depending on your income, your Social Security checks may be taxable up to a certain degree, so be aware of what’s going on.
Have a plan
Although you probably want to rest up a bit, retirement shouldn’t be seen as an empty void of time! It’s important to think about how you’re going to keep yourself entertained and socially plugged in, with loneliness and boredom being major problems for a lot of retired people. Retirement may be a good time to join some clubs and take up some new hobbies, keeping your life engaging and interesting!
If you’re thinking about retiring but aren’t sure, speak to a member of our team who can offer you advice on taxes, insurance, income, and much more.