“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” ~Proverbs 15:22
As you approach retirement, there are five people who can make a big difference when it comes to your health, financial security, and overall quality of life. They are:
1. Your doctor
Getting old is inevitable, but aging doesn’t automatically need to be accompanied by poor health. Your doctor can be a great resource when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He (or she) can advise you on eating habits and exercise routines. He can provide screenings, tests or procedures recommended for people in your age group. Should you have a colonoscopy? Should you start an aspirin regimen? Your doctor will know. He can also offer advice on how to prevent certain illnesses and can catch small problems before they become big problems. Of course, none of this will happen if you either don’t have a doctor or never go to see him, so make sure to schedule regular check-ups. Be proactive with your health and you will be in much better shape to enjoy retirement.
2. Your lawyer
You probably won’t need to see your lawyer as often as your doctor, but you should still be on a first name basis. Your attorney can help you draft a will (or trust) as well as legal and financial powers of attorney. Everyone needs those documents no matter how much or how little they have. Having your legal affairs in order will ensure 1) That your property passes to the correct people, 2) that the correct people take charge if you die or become disabled and 3) that things like expenses, hassles and taxes are minimized. Use this checklist to review your estate plan annually.
3. Your accountant
Your taxes in retirement will be significantly different than they were during your working years. Will working part time result in your Social Security benefits being taxed? How will distributions from certain retirement accounts be taxed? Does the state you’re planning on moving to tax retiree benefits favorably? How will owning property in two different states affect your tax bill? What if you plan on moving overseas? Your accountant can advise you on all these issues.
4. Your financial adviser
Because finances are the number one concern for most retirees, having a good financial adviser is a must. A recent study by LIMRA showed that people using an adviser were more likely to be saving for retirement and saved a higher portion of their income. A good adviser can boost confidence and provide guidance, education and planning to make sure you meet your retirement goals.
Even if you didn’t use an adviser in your pre-retirement years, you should consider hiring one during retirement. That’s because the issues facing a retiree are much different than the issues facing someone prior to retirement. Most people are familiar with pre-retirement issues like saving. They are usually less familiar with issues like cash flow management, pension payouts, retirement plan distributions, long-term care planning, dealing with Social Security and the tax consequences of certain distribution strategies. Those are post-retirement issues and most people would benefit from the help of a competent professional when dealing with them.
5. Your spouse
Chances are good that, without a job or kids competing for your time, you’ll be spending a lot more time with your spouse during retirement than you did during your working years. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to have some things in common and to always be nurturing that relationship. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you are on the same page with your spouse when it comes to plans for retirement. Here are some questions to get the conversation started.
How did you do? Do you have those key relationships in place? If so, great! If not, get to work. Having a good team in place will greatly increase your odds of a secure, healthy, rewarding retirement.
Touch base if I can ever help.