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Retirement Planning: The Big Picture

Future retirees and retirees should take into consideration the big picture of their retirement planning, which includes conducting financial planning and tax reviews. Once you have the full picture, it helps you make more detailed and necessary decisions to achieve the retirement for which you have worked so hard.

Planning for retirement is a multi-step process that can bring along many questions. For example, one must consider inflation, health care costs and debt. At American Financial Security, we take a holistic approach to retirement planning, and a major part of that is trying to plan for the future.

It is helpful and important to know what steps to take when preparing for your retirement. It is also good to know that if you are already retired it is not too late to incorporate some of these steps to help strengthen and improve your current retirement situation.

There are many things to take into consideration when preparing for retirement. But, making sure your documents are accounted for and managed, is a great step on the path to a comfortable and well-planned retirement. This step is important because there can be a lot of documents to manage from tax, estate, property, personal, etc. Unfortunately, the unquestionable number of important documents that some people have can lead to the disorganization of document management and, more often than not, become overwhelming.

Often, it’s only when tax season rolls around, or when a move happens, or a death in the family occurs, when people start really paying attention to the essential documents they may have. That is why reviewing your financial retirement plan on your own time can help you organize your documents and determine what you may still need for retirement.

Another part of planning for your retirement is having a well-planned tax strategy. Since we are a tax planning and preparation firm, we look over our clients’ taxes and help them form a tax strategy. The strategy is meant to help them have an understanding about what the normal tax ramifications might be of some of the investment and financial decisions that they make. A strategy might include (but is not limited to) maximizing a tax-free income, taking advantage of standard or itemized deductions, or deferring your retirement plan distributions until needed. It is important to meet with a financial professional to help you determine which strategy is right for you.

One more step in making the financial transition into retirement would be understanding your Social Security benefit and how to maximize it. Many people don’t know what their retirement income gap may look like. And, because of this, they do not know how they will fill their potential income gap in retirement. By reviewing your financial plan for retirement, you can potentially determine how to handle any financial gap you may face in retirement.

In most cases, when it comes to filling your income gap, there is no better tool to use than your Social Security benefit because it provides you with a lifetime’s worth of guaranteed income. We help our clients develop a comprehensive understanding of Social Security so they can rest assured they are triggering their benefits in the way that’s best for them. The importance of maximizing your Social Security benefit really cannot be overstated. For some people, the difference can literally be thousands of dollars, and when it comes to retirement planning, every penny counts.

Nobody can predict the future, but by preparing for the future financially, you may be saving yourself from future financial hardship.

Every person is different. By assessing each person on an individual basis, we are able to properly evaluate their specific situation and make a proper financial recommendation that will best serve that individual or couple. QCBN

By Ronald Stevenson and Barbara Clark Stevenson

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