Figuring out what you are going to do in retirement and how you are going to pay for it is not something you do once and just forget about it. You should plan for a quarterly retirement check-in. Retirement planning is kind of like owning a house – you put in an upfront investment, but then you need to take care of that investment, fix things that go wrong, and upgrade when you can.
Get a glimpse into your future with a retirement check in.
The words retirement plan can mean a lot of different things to different people. Some people hear “retirement plan” and think of 401(k)s and IRAs. Others think about a retirement date or the total amount of savings they will need.
When we talk about a retirement plan, we are referring to everything that is going to impact your finances between now and the day you die – your investment returns, how much you spend every month, when you start Social Security, whether or not you travel, health concerns, inflation rates, and so much more.
It is important to have your entire retirement plan documented. Before you retire, it is considered acceptable to live your life month-to-month or year-to-year since you have the potential to earn more money and significantly change your financial fate.
However, when you retire, you are generally limiting your earning potential and living off of a fixed set of resources. It is therefore critically important to know roughly how your money and other assets will be used and when.
First and foremost, you should evaluate and update your whole plan and do a retirement check every time there is a change to any aspect of your health, finances, or lifestyle.
Small changes can have a big impact over your lifetime.
For example, assess your plans if you:
- Are working and get a raise and decide to contribute more to retirement savings every month – document that.
- Get a small inheritance. Add that money to your plan and consciously decide what to do with it.
- Experience a financial setback – like needing a new roof for your house – make sure you know how much you have withdrawn from savings and assess how it impacts your plans.
- Change when you buy an annuity, start Social Security, or make any other decision.
In addition to assessing your retirement plans when things change, a quarterly retirement check-in can be an excellent way to keep your financial future on track.
Even if your life has not changed, the economy has marched onward. You will want to check to make sure that your:
- Investments have grown in the way you expected.
- Projections for inflation are tracking as projected.
- Debt is being paid down as anticipated.
- Spending, saving, and earning rates tracking as you planned they would.
If you have documented your overall retirement plan, then checking in is quick and easy.
The NewRetirement retirement calculator enables you to document and save a very detailed retirement plan. All of your current information is saved, you only need to scroll through “Your Plan” to make sure your data is up to date. Best of all, the system can email you if you have not logged in within the last three months to remind you about a quarterly retirement plan check-in.
Research shows that most people spend more time buying a TV, making a restaurant reservation and planning a vacation than they do planning their retirement. However, your retirement plans are arguably more important than a new television.
Looking at your finances can be stressful, depressing and confusing. However, there are many benefits to a quarterly retirement plan check-in. Once your finances are fully documented and you are tracking them over time, you will:
- Make better decisions.
- See good things happening as well as bad.
- Learn more about what changes make a difference and which do not.
- Feel more confident and happier about your retirement and future. Studies have shown that it is the “not knowing” that is stressful.