Chances are good you have a list of questions as you face retirement in the short- and long-term. Below is a list of common questions and answers to get you thinking about your retirement preparations.
I’m still a few years away from retirement; what should I be doing to prepare?
You should consider making some solid preparations once you are within 5 or 10 years of your retirement age. First, make sure you are taking full advantage of any employer offerings, like a 401(k) plan, that are made available to you. You’ll need to get an idea of how your planned budget matches up with the post-retirement lifestyle you envision.
Start by reviewing your account activity over the past year, adding up expenses and income earned over that time. Once you tally up your current annual financial outlook, you can account for other variables that retirement may bring. Consider your changing income sources in retirement, and also factors like rising health care costs. It is important to give your plan a test run on paper before you actually enter retirement, so that you know what it would take to live comfortably within your planned budget.
I’m nearing my retirement age, what’s next?
As you draw closer to your retirement eligibility, you can help make sure you have in everything in order by:
- Confirming exactly when you'll be eligible to receive retirement benefits
- Choosing a retirement date
- Informing your supervisor
- Researching and applying for other possible benefits, like: Social Security, Medicare, pensions from private industry, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) or Thrift Savings Plans (TSP)
- Documenting all sources of your retirement income and scheduling when each is payable
- Requesting a meeting with a Financial Advisor
- Meeting with your HR office to review the retirement process, and confirming your insurance and employment records are correctly documented
When should I take advantage of Social Security?
When you take Social Security depends a lot on your unique situation, so make sure to speak to a Financial Advisor before making any final decisions. There are no blanket rules for everyone.
Although you can begin to take Social Security at age 62, waiting longer could mean maximizing your monthly payments. If you retire before your normal retirement age, your benefits could be reduced. If you wait until age 70 to take your Social Security, you could earn considerably more, thanks to delayed retirement credits.
How do I apply for Social Security benefits?
You can apply for Social Security benefits three different ways. The first is to complete an online application through the Social Security Administration website. This option is available for your retirement, a spouse’s retirement, Medicare or disability benefits. You can also call 1.800.772.1213 to submit an application over the phone, or visit a local Social Security Administration office and apply in person.
How can I project how much money I will need in retirement?
You can request a “Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement” form from the Social Security Administration, and after completing it you will receive a record of your wage history and an estimated retirement benefits statement.
How should I invest my money when I retire?
It’s important to assess your individual situation and your portfolio with a Financial Advisor before making any investment decisions in retirement. The goal is to find a balanced strategy that protects your income streams, while also producing enough returns that you don’t run the risk of depleting your savings during a long post-retirement life.
The Financial Advisors at Addison Avenue Investment Services, the investment division of First Tech, will help you work through your financial hopes, dreams, desires and fears. They are able to provide guidance and support every step of the way, as well as in-person meetings and reviews whenever needed.
No matter what stage of life you are in, we have everything needed to formulate a solid financial plan to help you reach your goals. To experience it for yourself, schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation here, or visit firsttechfed.com/investments.
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Financial Advisors offer securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC and securities are not insured by credit union insurance, the NCUA or any other government agency, are not deposits or obligations of the credit union, are not guaranteed by the credit union, and are subject to risks, including the possible loss of principal. First Tech Federal Credit Union and Addison Avenue Investment Services are not registered broker/dealers and are independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.
401(k) plans are long-term retirement savings vehicles. Withdrawal of pre-tax contributions and/or earnings will be subject to ordinary income tax and, if taken prior to age 59 1/2, may be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty.