Retirement planning is an art and a science. We must combine your retirement goals and aspirations with current spending and saving targets to make sure you live your Ideal Life… all the while not knowing how long you’ll live. You could be in retirement for five years or for 40 years!!
Life brings a lot of changes along the way, requiring you and your plan to zig and zag to stay on course. It’s not a straight line, which is where the art of financial planning comes in. Your custom financial plan can and will address any risks and changes as your retirement approaches.
At Bradley Wealth, our wealth advisors begin your plan by understanding your spending needs right now, and also having a clear picture of your vision for your retirement. We look at things like your assets and expected sources of retirement income, such as 401(k)s, pensions, Social Security, IRAs, etc. We want to avoid any pitfalls and maximize your long-term income.
During the planning process, we evaluate all of your saving and investment instruments, along with taxes, healthcare, social security, etc., and make sure they are all being used efficiently to get you to your retirement goals. If we discover any holes, we’ll fix them!
Tax efficiency is key when it’s time for you to collect Social Security. Did you know up to 85% of your Social Security can be taxed? Your Bradley Wealth advisor can definitely help with this.
Because you’re on your personal financial journey, we would never recommend a blanket investment strategy. We look at your unique needs to determine the optimal time for you to receive your various benefits and we also strategize to minimize any tax penalties. We really don’t want you to pay too much tax on your Social Security payouts.
One trouble spot in retirement planning is missing out on spousal benefits.
When Social Security was designed as a safety net for everyone, most women did not work outside the home. Spousal benefits were designed to support the non-working spouse, even if there is a divorce or the working spouse dies.
This means that even people who have not formally paid into the Social Security system, including ex-spouses, can receive a benefit that is half of their spouse’s benefit. You are eligible for spousal benefits if you were:
- Married to a Social Security contributor for 10 years or more
- Got a divorce
- Did not remarry
Spousal benefits are based on the logic that you once supported someone who paid into the system and so you also deserve to receive benefits.
Inflation is another factor to calculate into retirement planning. Over time, inflation devalues your buying power. For instance, since 2000, your Social Security benefits have lost about 34% of their buying power, leaving you with 66 cents on the dollar due to inflation. Unfortunately, Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is far behind inflation at any time.
In 2019, Social Security’s COLA increased 2.8%, an average of $39 a month – enough for a meal out but not enough to catch up with inflation.
Medicare and Social Security
Medicare and Social Security fill in your retirement plan gaps and free up your money for other uses, but they are NOT your entire retirement plan.
Premiums for your Medicare benefits can double if you don’t correctly take your Social Security, and it’s possible you could pay too much in taxes. We can help explain this process and protect your money.
Risk Tolerance & Downside Protection
Remember when the economy hit a bump in 2008, and again when the Coronavirus shook economies worldwide in 2020? We can build in protections against such downsides in your financial plan.
Balance is key. We recommend investment strategies that take into consideration your personal risk tolerance and stage of life. With the right downside protections in place, you can more easily stay on your retirement journey.
We start your financial planning by looking at where you are currently and where you want to end up. Maybe at this point you have enough money saved for retirement and simply want to conserve your investments and protect your nest egg. Or maybe you’re just starting out and need our expertise to set a course for your ultimate Ideal Life.
We can help maximize your investments, protect your nest egg, plan your estate and your legacy, make taxes more efficient, and much more. We will help you clearly define what living your Ideal Life means to you, and then we’ll help you build it.