A content and satisfying retirement holds varying meanings for individuals. For some, retirement planning may involve moving from a full-time career to engaging in part-time activities.

Alternatively, you may picture yourself dedicating more time to family, cultivating a garden, or enjoying regular outings to the golf course.

Understanding the financial path to achieving it becomes crucial once you identify what will bring you peace of mind in retirement. We’ll guide you with some straightforward measures to assist you in taking the initial steps.

1. Define Your Retirement Goals

You’ve already formed some ideas about how you’d like to spend your retirement. In this step, articulate your objectives by prioritizing the most significant goals.

Try to narrow down your list to the top five goals. As you plan your retirement, maintain a scrapbook or begin a journal that delves into your retirement vision.

Ensure practicality by addressing all your financial needs during this brainstorming phase and eliminate unnecessary expenses.

The more detailed and descriptive you are, the more your retirement goals will become more concrete. This clarity will help you concentrate on realistic goals, making each one more achievable.

If your goals still feel general or vague, that’s perfectly fine. Begin by outlining how you picture enjoying your retirement, and you can refine and specify your goals as you progress.

2. Develop Your Retirement Budget

Let’s face it — understanding how much you need each month for your retirement plan is essential. Relying on rough estimates only sets the stage for potential failure. Ensure you consider inflation, which typically hovers around 3%-5% per year.

Collect your utility bills, bank statements, and credit card statements from the last 3 to 6 months. Then, calculate your spending in major categories such as groceries, dining out, and car-related expenses.

While retirement categories may change, a pre-retirement baseline offers a useful starting point.

3. Diversify Your Investments

Life is unpredictable, and personal circumstances and significant economic or market changes can unexpectedly impact your retirement savings.

Diversifying your investments consistent with your risk tolerance can help mitigate potential effects on your portfolio during sudden market downturns.

Limiting employer stock to 10-20% of your retirement savings when planning to retire to mitigate investment risk.

Before rolling over any employer stock into an IRA, it’s advisable to consult a financial professional. They can assess whether a potential tax-saving strategy, such as the employer stock’s net unrealized appreciation, might be available.

Keep in mind that specific IRS rules apply to this type of planning.

4. Take Stock of Your ‘Assets’

You may be familiar with your monthly income, bank balance, and retirement account value. However, it’s crucial to consider nontraditional assets that could contribute to your retirement funds.

Beyond financial holdings, the best retirement plans include hobbies and skills you could monetize. Antiques, car restoration, piano playing, or an unfinished novel can earn you retirement income from nontraditional assets you possess.

Explore the possibility of turning your passions and skills into viable income streams. It could involve activities such as trading antiques or offering piano lessons.

Take the time to compile a list of your interests and nontraditional assets. Contemplate transforming these skills and hobbies into profitable ventures for your retirement years.

5. Evaluate Your Health

Prioritizing your health is essential to maximize your retirement and life. Investing in preventive medical care can have lasting benefits.

As you plan for retirement, take the initiative to schedule regular checkups and preventive exams, from annual physicals to dental cleanings. During each appointment, collaborate with your healthcare provider to devise a plan to improve or maintain your health.

Remember, healthy living doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Many nutritious foods are delicious and satisfying, and exercise can be enjoyable — think about a leisurely walk on the beach. Dedicate yourself to keeping your mind sharp through brain games, puzzles, and reading.

Maintaining close connections with family and friends is another crucial aspect of preserving both physical and mental well-being. It helps combat any feelings of melancholy that may arise during retirement.

6. Explore Tax-Efficient Retirement Income Strategies

If you’re planning to retire, take note of significant expenses in retirement, as distributions from workplace retirement plans and IRAs may be taxable. Additionally, Social Security benefits are typically subject to taxation for most individuals.

Arrange a meeting with a financial professional to thoroughly discuss the tax implications of your various income sources in advance. Maximizing the tax efficiency of your income sources allows you to retain and extend your retirement funds further.

This proactive approach also reduces the chances of being unpleasantly surprised by unexpected tax bills when you utilize your funds.

7. Set Aside an Emergency Fund

For all the elements in this retirement plan to function smoothly, you’ll require a reserve of cash. It is precisely what an emergency fund is for.

Initiate saving up a sufficient amount of money designated to cover any unforeseen emergencies.

This fund should be capable of addressing unexpected incidents like accidents, illnesses, property damages, or losses resulting from natural disasters. These incidents may occur before your retirement.

8. Prepare an Estate Plan

While discussing death may seem morbid, it’s a crucial consideration that warrants attention at some point.

Investing in a comprehensive estate plan is prudent for you and your family. It ensures your loved ones get what you’ve planned for in case of your untimely passing, safeguarding your assets.

You should seriously consider this aspect when you’re planning to retire. If you have not initiated this process, now is the time to start planning. Doing so proactively will alleviate potential complications for your loved ones and provide a clear roadmap for handling your affairs.

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Get Help from a Lawyer

Contact Cristy J. Carbón-Gaul, a seasoned professional ready to assist you. With a wealth of experience in financial planning, Cristy can help you navigate the complexities of retirement, from budgeting and investments to tax-efficient strategies.

With extensive financial planning expertise, Cristy guides you through retirement complexities, covering budgeting, investments, and tax-efficient strategies.

Don’t face these decisions alone. Cristy is here to provide personalized retirement planning advice tailored to your needs.

Contact Cristy today and secure a fulfilling retirement.