Congratulations! Retirement! This is alternately a celebration of a long-term goal fulfilled, and a sometimes scary proposition. Gone are the bi-weekly paychecks, replaced by withdrawing from the assets you have built during your working life. Suddenly, life is a lot different! Hopefully, though, the planning steps put into place during your Foundation and Pre-Retirement stages are starting to pay off. Putting your goals into action and enjoying your retirement should go hand in hand.
Typically, this is called the Distribution phase, but as we’ve discussed before, it’s really about a wholesale change to your daily routines. Our role as planners is to help you navigate this new reality in order to maximize the enjoyment you’re getting out of the Retirement stage. While it’s true that your portfolio is experiencing, probably for the first time, routine and substantial withdrawals of money, we want you to be much more focused on how you’re able to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
That said, there indeed are many financial obstacles that we will help with during the Retirement stage. We want to make sure you fully understand what a safe withdrawal rate from your portfolio is, and how to read your quarterly or annual statements to get a picture of your portfolio’s health. We want you to be comfortable with and understand the taxes you’ll pay during retirement. We assist clients in reducing their taxes as much as is allowable by designing a goal-focused portfolio that is tax efficient. If we have planned ahead, we can manage our income in retirement in a manner that will significantly lower our income taxes.
One challenge of retirement is balancing twin emotions: fear and regret. We certainly work to allay our clients’ fears about running out of money during retirement. At the same time, we also want to avoid the regret that would come at the end of a lifetime if a retirement period was focused too much on conserving money, and not enough on enjoying those years. It’s true that these two emotions compete against each other, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to that balancing act. However, by remaining in contact with our clients throughout their retirement, we hope to be able to communicate well enough and adjust the needs over time so that we help achieve a properly balanced retirement.