General, Retirement Planning

A Roadmap to Your Happy Retirement

As seen on the WJAR NBC 10 Smart Advice Series

Retirement is synonymous with freedom and enjoyment: a special time to enjoy family, friends and the other activities in life that we find rewarding. Building a financial plan for retirement is one way to start down the path towards living out your retirement to the fullest. The process of preparing a financial plan requires a holistic approach to assessing your life goals, the funding sources to accomplish them, and your options for paying down and managing debt before and after retirement.

Assessing Your Goals

The starting point of planning should be assessing your goals and taking charge of your complete financial picture. It is important to reflect on what you want to achieve in your retirement so that you can plan to address any additional spending needs related to those goals. For example, if you have always dreamt to travel to remote areas of world, you can incorporate the associated expenses into your financial plan. This will allow you to identify appropriate spending needs for your retirement.

Take the time to reflect on your future financial needs with changes that may occur before and after your retirement date:

  • Paying down Mortgage and other Debts
  • Cost of Living (food, car, insurance, etc.)
  • Travel and Entertainment
  • Health Care Taxes

Making Your Dreams Viable

Income streams will change during retirement, and should be reviewed to determine all sources of income, such as social security, pensions, retirement accounts and dividends on investments. If you understand what your projected income streams are presently, you may plan to supplement that income by putting yourself at the top of your “payee” list. One of the easiest and most tax effective ways to save for retirement is to maximize your contributions to a retirement account at work.

A financial plan should involve consideration of additional protections, like having health insurance, home insurance, auto insurance with umbrella policy, and disability or long-term care insurance. Life insurance may be used to help pay estate taxes, transfer wealth to future generations without income taxation, or to fund a business succession plan. Liquidity needs may arise due to the death of a spouse or family member that can be addressed through death benefits payable under an individual or second-to-die life insurance policy. Long-term care insurance may help to off-set the cost of expensive residential nursing care should a loved one require it. The cost of premiums and the protections obtained should be weighed and reviewed for adequacy over the life of the financial plan.

Next Steps

Asking questions about financial opportunities and checking with a trusted financial professional can help you make informed choices and avoid fraud. Estate planning is a necessary part of your financial picture, helping you plan for the events of temporary incapacity, illness or death. Typically, the financial planning process will encompass estate planning solutions. Designating the appropriate agent to act on your behalf, or on behalf of your estate, can be accomplished through powers of attorney for financial and health care matters and through testamentary documents like a will or a trust.

A good financial plan can be your roadmap to help put you on the path toward a comfortable retirement and long-term financial security. The financial plan should be a living document that changes with you as your life circumstances change.

Contact a Washington Trust Planning Officer at 800-582-1076 or email us at [email protected] for smart advice that’s focused on your unique financial goals.

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