Solutions to the Top Financial Concerns of Retirees

Rising healthcare costs. Death of a spouse. Outliving investments. These three concerns are constantly confronted by retirees. Solutions to these challenges do exist. 

Based on historical costs, it is likely that retirees will experience a 7 – 9% increase in healthcare costs in 2021 over what they paid in 2020. One of the best methods of controlling your out-of-pocket medical costs, it is critical that you understand what Medicare covers and consider a supplemental policy to provide you coverage for the amount of expense not covered by Medicare. It is not unheard of for a person to experience a bill for a hospital stay of only a few days in the amount of $10,000 that is not covered by insurance! Consider a supplement to your Medicare coverage to mitigate the excess expenses that may disrupt your financial plan for the future.

The premature loss of a spouse is not something any of us wishes to think about. However, it happens far too often, and the surviving spouse is stressed with burial costs as well as lower household income. Consider this scenario. A retired couple receives $5,000 per month of Social Security Benefits. One of the couple suddenly expires due to a heart attack. The surviving spouse needs $5,000 per month for the operation of their lifestyle and household functions. Resulting from the loss of her spouse, the widow receives only $2,500 per month of SSA Benefits for the remainder of her life (with some annual cost of living increases).

How can one prepare for this loss of income? First, if your spouse retires from the federal government or as a school teacher, consider the option to leave your survivor a portion, or all, of your retirement benefits. Yes, the election to choose survivor benefit options will pay a lesser current amount to the retiree but it will provide some assurance to your surviving spouse should you predecease you.

Another option to replacing income is to work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to create a financial plan that allows your investments to exceed long-term inflation impact. This approach will allow your investments to provide you funds that will retain purchasing power as the cost of goods rise. It will be impossible to control inflation, but it is possible to control your investment strategy to counter inflation’s effects on your family’s budget.

The overarching concern of most retirees is the potential that they may outlive their investments. One of the best methods of addressing this concern is to properly invest, project lifestyle expenses and plan for contingencies. None of us can accurately predict the future. However, with a few assumptions and proper planning, most families can protect their future by forming a valid plan and monitoring the plan’s performance each quarter to determine weaknesses or changes that should be addressed. 

Life is too short to be worried about each day’s results of your portfolio or the possibility of a life-wrecking illness. It is far better to enjoy each day that you are given and spend time with your loved ones creating memories that generations will enjoy far beyond your earthly existence. My mentor, Jim Rohn, said it best, “Days are expensive. When you spend a day, you have one less day to spend. So, make sure you spend each one wisely.” Go ahead, live your life by your design!

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Predict Your Future By Creating It

Many of you will read the title of this article and wonder what it means. President Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” One of the roles I relish, when working with our clients, is the ability to help people reach their goals in life. Often clients will look at me during the planning process and possess only two items of information: 1) where she currently resides financially; and 2) where she wishes to be at retirement. The chasm between these two points of life may seem bottomless and unreachable. Before you shake your head that you agree with the previous statement, let me share a proven method of predicting your future.

First, you must clearly define your desires for your future. It is often said that “no archer can hit a target that doesn’t exist.” The process of future design begins with your imagination. Do you wish to relocate in retirement? Do you dream of a second career? What about your volunteerism you wish to enhance during retirement? Will you need specialty medical assistance and support in retirement? What type of home do you wish to reside in retirement? There are many considerations and you should list all of them that you wish. There are no wrong answers! 

A plain piece of paper and your favorite writing instrument will open your mind to the world you want to develop. Once the list is completed, for now, you should breathe a sigh of relief. You have now performed more planning for your future than most people. More time is spent by individuals planning their vacation than planning their future!

Second, you should evaluate your current financial statement. What have you saved for the future? Do you possess an emergency fund? One of the quantitative misunderstandings by most people is that your life in retirement will cost you less than your current lifestyle when working. This is not necessarily true. Think about it. Your medical costs may rise due to age or you may locate where you wish to spend most of your day in your hobby. These types of activities require funds and it is a fact that most retired individuals will continue to require 90% – 95% of their currently living expense in retirement.

When planning for our clients’ future, we assume the same lifestyle in retirement as experienced in their career. Why? It is better to assume more income is required and save more than enough for a lifetime than to be deficient. No one wants to simply exist in their retirement. Therefore, it is critical that a projection assuming taxes, cost of living increases, medical needs, housing costs, etc. be developed into your plan for the future. Success in retirement depends on the ability to weather any financial storm that may arise.

Lastly, you must bridge the chasm with an active savings plan that allows you to maximize growth for the future. Time is your friend when investing. Start early and be consistent in the savings process. If you are starting a little later than intended to save for retirement, there is hope for you. With a proper review of your current circumstances, you can make strategic changes in your savings plan that will give you the most probable opportunity for success. As retirement planning specialists, we have witnessed the fear people experience when the vision for the future is not clear. 

Seek out a complimentary consultation to see if you qualify for a “second opinion” of your plan for retirement. If you don’t have a plan, lets get one started. Live for today but plan for your future. Might as well, that’s where you will be spending your time in retirement. See you on the walking trail!

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The One Secret to Retiring Successfully

We are asked many questions about the strategies to retirement and enjoyment of life. This article will reveal the secret success criteria that many of our clients have implemented over the past 20 years to change their lives. Let’s think about the word “retirement” for a moment. Too often the word has negative connotations to individuals who are ill prepared for the next phase of life. Others see the word as an opportunity to begin a new hobby, career or volunteer service life. What is your understanding of the word “retirement”?

Most of our challenges in life give us opportunities to exercise our philosophy toward the pending decision. There are many inclinations to a decision and the result you choose may have life-altering consequences. Wouldn’t you want to tip the scales of success in your favor on this type of decision? Of course! If you were to find a method of decision-making that supported greater probabilities of success, you would use that method for all decisions.

Sadly, immediate wisdom is not bestowed on us humans. No, we learn by the old-fashioned method of trial and error. However, if you were to seek out someone to assist in your resolution process that had experience and specialized training in the area of retirement planning, you could attribute that person’s wisdom as your own.

The one secret to retiring successfully is to change your philosophy of life. I know this sounds like an indomitable task, but it does not have to be. For example, there are, at least, two options for every decision in life – positive and negative. You could think like some people that hate to pay income taxes. However, when I frame it in the context of what their income had brought them in terms of life, family, charity and other aspects of their choosing, they quickly see the difference in philosophy I hold toward paying taxes. Am I saying you should throw a party because you pay a significant amount of taxes to the government? Sure, if you want. Hey, this is America! Do what you wish with you own time, talent and treasure.

Your philosophy toward investing for your future requires that you look through the lenses of potential and desire. Do not retire to simply quit working. This philosophy will produce poor long-term results. Instead think of the contributions you could make to your community, church or other civic groups that require your expertise to continue supporting constituents. 

We use the term “reFIREment” to describe the next phase of your life. To us this is a new beginning with excitement and vigor. By changing your philosophy toward retirement, you will find yourself changing your investment philosophy. Think about the joys and/or challenges you wish to, or may, experience after your career. If you desire to travel, relocate to another state, start another career – all have funding needs that must be addressed during your work life. By defining your ultimate purpose in life, through a sound philosophy, you will be empowered to fund your retirement in a manner that allows you to accomplish a more rewarding life. Your outlook for the future will be much brighter and more positive when you have a plan that focuses on something other than “not working”.

Seek out help if you are unclear on how to define your future in monetary or philosophical terms that give you the greatest opportunity for success. A retirement specialist can serve many roles for your family. The best resources you will receive from a Certified Financial Planner™ professional are independent, tailored planning and honest feedback on the best approaches to reach your goals. You have far more to contribute to the world. Do not stop giving just because your work life has converted to your beach life. See you on the golf course!

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Retirement Planning and Tree Planting: Common Traits

An ancient Chinese proverb states, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” What do tree planting and retirement planning have in common? Both reward you by starting early and expecting the harvest much later in your future.

One of the “seeds” we plant in the lives of younger professionals is that the future arrives much sooner than most anticipate. I don’t mean that time speeds up but rather that life has a way of causing you to focus on many other tasks that will rob you of your future savings goals. For example, when you were graduating high school and received all of those beautiful congratulatory cards filled with checks and cash, you thought the future was so distant that you were immortal. 

However, in just a short period of time, you go to your mailbox and find the ornate envelopes addressed to you. Opening the envelope, you quickly realize it is a graduation announcement from a friend’s child! “How can this be?” you say out loud. Time has a way of moving consistently forward in our lives and, if we aren’t careful to notice, passes us by without our comprehending the importance of events and people around us.

What does this have to do with retirement, you ask? Everything! We provide financial planning and counseling services to younger professionals. When we inform them of the balance needed in their lives to meet all of their lifetime goals, they are quick to point out that the amount of funds allocated to their retirement seems excessive since they are so young. I love it when this statement is said so boldly by the young person! This recognition of time being so far away from their current reality allows us to demonstrate the difference between a little invested today and the required larger amount to invest if she starts 20 years later to save for retirement.

After the calculations and graphs are reviewed with the person, you can literally see the look in their eyes as to how fast time truly passes. The key to planting the money tree needed for retirement enjoyment is today. Too often people come to our office to discuss retirement planning and leave with less confidence in reaching their goals because of the lack of time to accumulate assets properly.

To help you start today, we have produced our “Top Ten Tips for Saving Today”:

Tip #1: Elect to participate in your employer’s retirement plan. Even if the amount is small, the plan will typically match a certain percentage of your contributions which will help you grow your funds more quickly.

Tip #2: Forgo the cup of latte, double shot, no foam every other day and place these funds in your savings. You will be surprised how much you can save in a year!

Tip #3: Pay yourself first. This is our mantra when clients ask us how to save for the future. You must take advantage of the tax laws to plan for all applicable deductions possible. Invest in your future, not the government.

Tip #4: Find an accountability partner. Saving is like exercise; you must perform both on a consistent basis to see the results. When I started exercising (again) regularly, I didn’t notice results for a month or so. Then the magic came alive one day when I was putting my suit pants on – they were too big! Your saving for the future will work the same way. Find someone to hold you accountable for exercising and saving.

Tip #5: Do what wealthy people do. Budget each year and consider your savings goal as the first disbursement for your monthly funds. The key difference between the behavior of wealthy people and ordinary people is their approach to saving for their future. Wealthy people will save their desired portion of income first and spend the rest. Ordinary people will pay their bills first then save what’s left.

Tip #6: Don’t stop investing your savings in difficult market cycles. Emotions rule a lot of people. However, to be successful in saving for the future, you must be consistent in your investing. Think about the process as if you were shopping. Look for bargains that have fundamental characteristics of a good investment. These are typically found when the markets are in recession or downturns. 

Tip #7: The stock market is an auction use it to your advantage. In its simplest terms, the stock market is based on someone selling something and someone else buying it. Don’t be confused with the technicalities of the market. Consider a well-balanced portfolio and consistently fund it through good and bad markets. You may find that you are well rewarded in the long run.

Tip #8: Rent don’t buy. Before you think you know what I am referring to allow me to explain further. Don’t buy assets that are low utilization but require significant investment of time and money. One primary example is a boat or recreational vehicle for most people. Besides maintenance, insurance, storage, taxes and other costs are borne with these assets that could be alleviated by renting one when you need it. Recently, we rented a house boat for a weekend on the lake. The gas tank was full and the maintenance, as well as all the required safety equipment, was completed by the leasing company. All we did was enjoy the weekend and turn the craft back in after we were through.

Tip #9: Invest your raise in salary. Instead of increasing your monthly living expenses by the same amount of funds you received in your recent raise, consider allocating the raise to your future savings. If you have been living comfortably, why should you change your lifestyle simply because you make more money?

Tip #10: Recite often the nine tips above so that you are not easily distracted by the “bright shiny objects” that appear before you while living your dream life. One word that I have used, on purpose, throughout this article is “consistently”. Without reviewing your actions periodically, it is easy to find yourself off course and in treacherous waters. 

Seek out a professional to help you establish a plan and work the plan like your life depends on it – because it truly does! See you on the golf course. 

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Eliminating the Top Three Fears of Pre-Retirees

Retiring is a big step in life for most people. Along with this new lifestyle comes the fear of the unknown. You do not have to be subject to these fears if you simply follow the process outlined in this article.

Let’s identify three fears causing the greatest concern for pre-retirees. First, most people have enjoyed a career where they receive consistent paychecks and benefits. At retirement, there is a sudden realization that the ever-flowing money and benefits immediately stop! You don’t have to feel this way if proper planning has been performed. For example, if you have saved properly in your employer retirement plan, a series of consistent payments can be established to provide you a lifestyle you desire. Proper assumptions must be considered when establishing this stream of cashflow to confidently assuage the underlying fear of “running out of money”.

Why would you work so hard all of your life to simply exist in retirement? I am pretty certain that no one listed “barely survive” as a retirement goal! Start saving for retirement early and you will reap the benefits of living a life you desire.

The second fear of pre-retirees is the unknown cash needs of other family members while the retiree is enjoying life. When planning and analyzing the needs of the potential retiree, it is critical that you consider the needs of other family members you have supported during your career. What I am referring to is the “sandwich” generation. Some individuals are not only caring for their retirement needs but the needs of their parents and/or children (hence the name, “sandwich” generation). Challenges to the traditional family structure have been monumental in the past two decades. In years prior, the retiree had only their existing household to care for during the period after employment. Now, the retiree may be called upon to assist in college funding, caring for an elderly parent, etc. The world is a different place today and these considerations should be given some thought during the planning process. 

To alleviate this fear, consider allocating a certain amount of funds to be invested in a manner that provides for these needs. Are there assets of your parents that may have considerable value but no cash flow capabilities? If so, perhaps selling the property would provide sufficient support for your parents’ futures. If not, this special fund would give you confidence that your retirement is secure while also meeting your obligations you desire to undertake for your family members.

The third and final fear of pre-retirees is the rising cost of medical care and its negative impact on their retirement assets. This is a tough one for most people. Proper medical care is necessary to allow you to enjoy the highest quality of life in retirement. However, with medical care rising approximately 6% per year for pharmaceutical and physician visits, a significant ailment could wreck your well-planned future. Consider utilizing Medicare Programs to your advantage. For example, it is critical that you consider a supplemental plan to your Medicare Parts A and B coverages. The remaining 20% of inpatient costs would be a material burden on your assets and cashflow if you were required to pay it out-of-pocket. There are many types of supplemental plans that cover various levels of support. Analyze them and consult an expert for guidance to select the proper plan for your needs.

If you are concerned about the rising cost of prescription drugs, and are enrolled in Medicare, consider the Medicare Part D Program. You may find sufficient coverage for your needs for a small premium each month. One caveat to this plan is that you will be penalized for enrolling in a period after you are initially qualified at age 65. For example, after your 65th birthday, you are eligible to enroll in Medicare Part D. 

However, your health is great and you don’t expect a costly amount of prescriptions. Then the unimaginable happens – at age 68 you experience a significant health event that requires expensive medication each month. You quickly enroll in Medicare Part D at the next enrollment period and realize that your monthly premium seems higher than you remembered at age 65. The difference in rates is the late enrollment penalty calculated at 1% of the national base beneficiary premium assessed each month from your originally qualified enrollment date to the month you enrolled in the program. In our example above, 36 months had lapsed from the date of the originally qualified enrollment date for the individual which means the monthly premium penalty would be 36%. As a result, your monthly premium for Medicare Part D coverage would be 36% higher than the national premium. As you can see, this penalty can become material rather quickly.

There are many factors to consider prior to retiring. We have a saying we use with our clients, “You retire for the first time only once. Don’t make a lifetime mistake when you do so.” Retirement planning is a process that should be addressed in advance and, to provide the greatest probability for success, consult a professional that specializes in retirement planning. Life is meant to be lived, not feared.

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The Millennial Perspective: Starting Late, Retiring Fearless

According to Pew Research Center, Millennials are individuals born between 1981 and 1996. We grew up in a time before the internet was a part of everyday life and playing outside or playing video games were the best options to keep us occupied. We grew up in the rapidly changing age of technology and social media. We also, unfortunately, grew up and are still facing the ramifications of the Great Recession of 2008. This has brought on a number of financial concerns among Millennials and has caused delay for many milestone events, such as buying a home and starting a family. The average Millennial makes $35,592 a year and has a net worth of less than $8,000 according to Business Insider. The average Millennial also has a student loan balance of roughly $30,000 for four years of college. The lower income and high cost of student loan debt on top of the cost of living makes it hard to start a life and save for the future.

As any Millennial would do, I took to social media to gather the opinions of my fellow Millennials about what concerns they faced regarding their financial future. Much to my surprise, several people joined in the conversation. Some said that their biggest concern was paying off student loans, others said buying a home, saving for their children’s futures, or starting a family in general. We will touch more on those subjects later, but one of the most popular answers I received was saving for retirement. Many of us are told to start saving for retirement as early as possible and many of us fear about the future of Social Security. However, when it comes time to set up our 401(k), 403(b), or whatever kind of retirement plans are available, if any, from our employers we find that the suggested amount to invest in the plan is far more than we can afford and still have a comfortable lifestyle. I remember when it came time to sign up for the retirement plan at one of my jobs which I thought paid fairly well for someone my age. The suggested investment each month was a third of my total gross pay, or in other words, the pay before any taxes or deductions. This would have left me with just enough money to pay my rent, my car note, and utilities each month. I, unfortunately, opted out of saving for retirement at that time. 

So, how do we start to save for our futures when we can hardly afford the present? Balance. It is important to find a good balance between what you need to live, what you can save for the future, and still have some funds left over to pay yourself, even if that means setting aside more savings. How do you find this balance? Planning. Sit down and look at how much you are making and how much you are spending, and create a budget that works for you and stick to that plan. Even if you are not investing in a retirement plan with your employer, you can start to save for your future. It doesn’t have to be much to start, but we have to start somewhere. Talk to a Certified Financial Planner™, get a second opinion if you have to, do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable when making these kinds of decisions and ensure that you are making the right choices to plan for your future. Retirement doesn’t have to be a lost cause or a fantasy for Millennials. As Jonas Salk said, “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”

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Post-Retirement Considerations

Nursing home costs in the United States can easily top $70,000 per year! Assisted living centers may cost as much as $4,000 per month for a one-bedroom private-pay facility. We discuss these lifestyle changes as part of our planning process for retirees. It is not always a popular subject to broach with newly-retiring people because they think of it as a negative. However, as specialists in retirement planning, we believe in educating our clients about all facets of the future that they might control.

Let’s think about the options and find a few methods of mitigating these possible future costs. For one, by maintaining an active lifestyle and sensible diet, one may escape these options or, at least, delay them. Many of our clients have seen the impact on their families’ and friends’ budgets from admissions to a nursing home. These facilities are of great assistance when transitioning our loved ones that experience a period of life in which continual support is warranted. 

Another option to utilizing these types of facilities is to accumulate sufficient funds that will allow you to remain in your own home with assistance provided by nurses’ aides and other medical providers. This option appeals to most of our clients that may simply have mobility issues and cannot provide for all aspects of their daily lives. We evaluate each client’s capabilities to accomplish their activities of daily living (ADL) and assist them in analyzing the impact of potential nursing care in their future financial planning budgets.

The six routine activities of daily living are: eating, bathing, getting dressed, toileting, transferring and continence. Each of us participate in these activities daily. To lose your capability to perform one of these activities may not be the deciding factor to start searching for an alternative to remaining in your home. However, when you lose the ability to conduct three or more of these activities, it is critical that the family consider nursing providers in the home of the individual or seek a nursing home.

To determine the appropriate level of support for a loved one, it is critical that the level of care replaces the daily activities that are not being performed by the individual. It may mean that you simply require an aide in your home for twelve hours per day. As the person’s abilities become more impaired, additional support and possible relocation may be needed.

One of the greatest ramifications of assigning a loved one to a nursing home is the emotional effect on the person. Too often this process is decided without input from the impaired person and the children simply need some relief from the care being required of them. Those of us deciding the fate of any person must consider the infirmed person’s wishes and desires. These decisions are some of the most difficult to make. By keeping the person informed of each step and soliciting their acceptance with the process, you may experience a better transition.

These types of decisions can have a significant impact on your retirement plans. Seek out a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner who understands all aspects of retirement. It is too important of a decision to simply guess.

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How to Confidently Prepare for Retirement

If you are like most individuals, considering the scope of the changes from an active career to retirement brings anxiety and a sense of loss. As specialists in retirement planning, we guide our clients in the process to, and through, retirement to provide confidence in the outcomes for their lives. One method in which we bring confidence to the process is by addressing an individual’s four biggest financial concerns about retirement: 1) paying for healthcare; 2) saving enough money for retirement; 3) liquidating indebtedness; and 4) creating and maintaining consistent, predictable income streams in retirement.

Healthcare costs are one of the most expensive areas of living for retirees. As we age, our healthcare costs may rise. One of our clients is suffering ill health in retirement and her medical expenses average more than $6,000 per month! Proper planning for healthcare expenses is critical before you retire. Not only do you suffer physically but the potential for significant cash need for healthcare may jeopardize the quality of life and the longevity of your assets to sustain you. Analysis of the probabilities for genetic health issues as well as capabilities for current physical activity of the individual will need to be addressed.

Saving for retirement is an area of life that is often delayed until it is almost too late to help the individual substantially. Too often individuals treat their employer retirement plan as a savings account and funds “emergencies” in life with plan loans. I believe this is tremendously detrimental for the long-term viability of their retirement assets. Emergencies can be mitigated by establishing a responsible budget each year and transfer extraordinary expenses to insurance coverages. For example, if you have a home, which is often one of the largest assets of a family, you should maintain adequate replacement value insurance on the property. Failing to do so could result in the family experiencing an exorbitant damage requiring more funds that are maintained in the family reserve account.

Eliminating or reducing indebtedness prior to retirement will provide an individual a higher annual discretionary cash flow. We have assisted many of our clients in a plan to reduce or eliminate debt prior to transitioning to retirement. It is inconceivable to plan for all potential perils and hazards in life but you will experience a more confident retirement by maintaining little or no debt while retired. Again, budgeting is the key to success for debt management.

Without consistent, predictable cash flow streams, your retirement will feel more like a burden than a reward. The secret to adequate cash flow streams in retirement is to start saving early in life and structure a retirement lifestyle that is within your means. Where we have witnessed this challenge is when someone retires without a thorough plan of execution and overspends during the first few years of retirement. The family is now in distress and substantial, critical work must be performed to remedy the situation. 

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Retiring On Your Own Terms

“I want to live by the beach,” said his wife. “I want to live in the mountains,” said the husband. Differences of retirement plans typically exist within the same family. One person may wish to retire in a different environment than the other. Many of our clients come to their complimentary initial consultation without a complete understanding of their spouse’s desires for retirement. Simply because someone is married to another person for many years does not translate to an understanding of that person’s long-term goals and dreams. Communication is critical in all relationships, in a couple pondering retirement plans it is vital.

To help our clients resolve differences of opinion, and desires about retirement, we developed an approach that addresses the three “E’s”: Environmental, Economic and Emotional. To fittingly address the needs of each of the partners, these three “E’s” provide a comprehensive background for each to gain a deeper understanding of the other. This article will provide you considerations for each of the three components of retirement planning.

Environmental considerations are critical due to the impact your surroundings play in the overall happiness and health of a person. For example, scientists have proven that environment affects a person’s overall satisfaction in life attributed to their surroundings. Some people are happier in sunny, warm climates while others enjoy the cold, harsh tundra. By understanding your partner’s thoughts on environment, each of you will gain knowledge about the type of surroundings desired by the other. We work with a client who enjoys mild weather and sandy beaches. To compromise, we divided the year into quarters and accommodated her wish for salty water in the winter and his mountainous terrain for game hunting in the fall of each year. They remain content at their primary residence for six months of the year during seasons that are not extreme. Compromise is the key and extending understanding with a mindset of flexibility helps with the creation of a joyful retirement.

Economic factors contribute to the retirement quality of all of us. Considering that you have accumulated more than a sufficient amount of assets to live anywhere you wish, economic factors play less of a role in the retirement decision process. However, lets assume you have saved but may have some cash flow difficulty in the future. It is necessary to consider all means of support and the term in which that support will be available. As presented in our last article, the location of your retirement home will be a considerable outcome based on your economic means.

After considering environmental and economic factors, the most influential of these three factors, emotional, must be broached. To illustrate the power of emotions in decision making, we will share this short story. Tom and Linda decided to retire. Tom had his mind made up that he would retire in the mountains with a cabin and enjoy the land around him for his ideal retirement. Linda, often submitting to Tom’s decisions, was in misery in the mountains. Her asthma, allergies and other minor health conditions only worsened in the humid, hot summers in the mountains. She tolerated the first couple of years in the mountains and simply decided to make her wishes known to Tom. After a deep discussion of all the desires for her retirement, it was decided that they would share their time in retirement between the mountains and her beachfront condo she had been dreaming about for many years.

Compromise and consideration of the environmental, economic and emotional factors of retirement will yield the most effective choice for couples. The transition time to retirement is difficult for many people. Seek out someone who understands the needs and desires of retirees as well as possesses the expertise to help design and execute a plan that is pleasing to both partners. Life is short. Focus on these three factors and live life on your own terms!

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Relocation Considerations for Retirement

One of the most difficult decisions in retirement planning is to relocate. If you reside in a state that has a high income tax rate, sales tax rate and/or ad valorem tax, it may be something to consider. During the retirement phase of life, your savings must last beyond your lifetime. To ignore the cost of living could be the difference between truly enjoying a lifetime of income and experiencing worry at a time in life that you shouldn’t.

A recent study of individual taxation by state yielded some not-so-surprising news. California, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut and Illinois are the highest taxing authorities on individuals. These states are currently seeing an exodus of its citizens to lower cost of living states. To eliminate 15% of your tax liability by simply relocating to Texas or Florida, states without individual income tax assessments, may provide the additional savings needed for your savings to last to lifetime.

Another area of consideration is property tax. If a state does not assess an income tax on individuals, it will, in most cases, utilize an ad valorem, or property tax, to generate revenue needed to fund the state’s functions. For example, some people consider moving to Texas due to its absence of individual income tax assessments. However, in most of the counties contiguous to the Dallas metroplex, the rate of assessment for property taxes creates more of a tax burden than one would pay by remaining in Oklahoma.

Personal property tax is another consideration when relocating in your retirement years. States have begun to assess sales tax on automobile purchases versus the excise tax previously charged for such transactions. It may take some of the joy out of your new purchase when you realize the bill from the state could be as much as $5,000! 

Lastly, two of the necessities of life are utilities and food. When considering relocating, the cost of meals and household utilities should be considered. In extreme temperature climates such as experienced in Alaska, the cost of food and utilities, compared to Oklahoma, are very expensive. Due to the lack of fruit, vegetable and dairy production facilities and farms, these important staples of life must be flown into the location. The costs of delivery cause extremely high retail costs for consumers. 

Although Hawaii may be the land of paradise many of us enjoy on vacation, the cost of living on the islands is very high compared to other states. Recently, we enjoyed a stay on Oahu and the cost of a gallon of milk was $7.99! If you are raising kids in your family, it may be cheaper to buy a cow. 

It is important to consider many aspects when thinking of relocating during retirement. Cash flow is the ultimate factor coupled with your ecological requirements. One of the lowest costs of living states is Tennessee but you may wish to see the beautiful ocean shore each day. Trade-offs are a part of our lives. Rate the most important factors for you before undertaking a move to another state.

If you have questions as to how you can create a lifetime income plan, contact a Certified Financial PlannerTM practitioner to assist in the analysis so that you can make the best decision for your family’s needs. 

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