As a future retiree or retiree, it is important for you to take into consideration the big picture of your retirement planning. Once you have the full picture, it helps you make more detailed and necessary decisions to achieve the retirement for which you have worked your whole life.
One of the first steps to take when planning your retirement is to find a financial professional who puts your needs and interests first. At American Financial Security, we take your whole financial and tax position into consideration and actively help you meet your retirement goals and objectives.
The next step we encourage is to collect and organize all your important documents. Making sure your documents are accounted for and managed is a great step on the path to a comfortable and well planned retirement. Unfortunately, this step is overlooked far too often.
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. Having all your resources and documentation organized will allow your financial professional to provide you with the tools you need to make the decisions to help guide and prepare you for retirement.
Another essential step to take is to figure out how much money you will need in retirement and where it will come from. Many of our clients are confused about not only how much they have in terms of financial assets, but also how much they will need when they retire. Every client is different. By assessing each client on an individual basis, it allows us to properly evaluate each person’s situation to make a proper financial recommendation that will best prepare them for or assist them in retirement.
Most of our clients have some assets on which they can rely, maybe in their savings, a retirement account, or in other financial investments, but this often isn’t enough to provide them with a lifetime’s worth of retirement income. In other words, a shortfall often exists between the amount of money you have and the amount of money you will need during retirement. This shortfall is known as the income gap, and we work with our clients to help them develop strategies to fill it.
An important strategy to plan for is knowing what your Social Security benefit is and how to maximize it. This is important because Social Security can play a large role in helping bridge the income gap in retirement. Making the wrong Social Security decisions, like triggering your benefit at the inopportune time, may impact whether you are able to collect your maximum benefit.
Social Security has a significant impact on retirement planning. It is difficult to talk about retirement planning without also talking about Social Security and vice versa. The most common and challenging decision regarding Social Security is knowing when to apply for benefits. Knowing when to apply for your Social Security benefits can make a financial difference in your retirement. You can begin to receive early benefits from Social Security at age 62. However, depending on your life span, if you choose to take your benefit right at 62, it could drastically reduce the amount of Social Security you receive over your lifetime. Also taking Social Security and working prior to full retirement age may have an impact on your benefits.
At American Financial Security, we take a holistic approach to retirement planning. A major part of that is trying to plan for the future. We like to plan for what inflation will look like, what health care costs may look like in retirement, and, if debt is acquired in retirement, how will it be paid off. Nobody can predict the future, but by preparing for the future financially you may be saving yourself from future financial hardship.
By Ronald Stevenson and Barbara Clark Stevenson
Ronald F. Stevenson & Barbara Clark Stevenson own American Financial Security, LLC. They specialize in Retirement Income Planning, Social Security Maximization, Tax Free Income Design, Personal & Corporate Tax Preparation and Planning. For more information, call 928-771-8368 or visit www.AmericanFinancialSecurity.net, 3112 Clearwater Dr., Suite B, Prescott, Arizona 86305.