2016 is now behind us and many a seniors are looking at their financial plans to see how they can do better this year.
This is especially true for seniors, who have already retired or are planning on retiring soon.
When you don’t have regular paychecks to rely on anymore, making and sticking to a solid financial plan is vital. But even the best of us can slip up now and then. What better time to reevaluate your retirement finances than at the beginning of a new year?
Here are a few pointers that every retiree can benefit from.
- Plan for a longer retirement than you think you need to. Seniors are living longer than ever before, thanks to a number of factors including advances in medicine. This means that most of us can plan on a longer retirement: more time to enjoy family, to develop an encore career, travel, or start a business.
It also, of course, means that we’ll need more money to support that carefree retirement lifestyle and ourselves. A good rule of thumb is to plan on spending at least 30 years in retirement. That means that you need to invest wisely as well as protect your savings.
- If you’re approaching retirement, tackle any major expenses while you’re still drawing a paycheck. You can never foresee every major expense that may crop up while you’re retired, but you can at least anticipate them. Home repairs, car repairs or replacements, and major medical procedures all fall into this “major expenses” category, and should be taken care of before you retire if at all possible.
When it comes to your home, make a list of repairs you think you’ll need to make within the next 10 years, and do as many of them now as you can.
- Commit to a healthy diet and exercise. Exercising and eating well are so important as we age, and doing so will have a major impact on the quality of your retirement years. But staying healthy will not only greatly improve your quality of life - it will also help you decrease the chances that you’ll need long-term care or major medical interventions as a result of lifestyle choices.
With the current state of healthcare and long-term care costs, investing in your health is also an investment in your financial security.
- Discuss your finances with your spouse or partner. Couples who have been married for a long time know how important open communication is, and that’s especially true when it comes to your finances.
Make sure that you and your spouse or partner are on the same page when it comes to expenses, saving, and investing. This will help you stick to your financial plan and prevent you from withdrawing more than is sustainable from your accounts. In addition, being open and transparent about finances will protect the surviving spouse when one of you passes away.
- Start working with a financial advisor. If you don’t already have a financial advisor, now is the time to find one. Financial advisors can be of huge help to retirees, as they’ll monitor your portfolio, recommend investments, and generally help you stay on track. Good financial advisors will also be able to identify alternative options for increasing income, like life settlements.
You’ll want to make sure that the advisor you select is a fiduciary, which essentially means that he or she is obligated to put your (the client’s) interests ahead of their own.
This time of year is a great time to take stock of your retirement accounts and reevaluate your financial plans for the coming year