Written By: John Shrewsbury
Owner / Financial Advisor
Stuff just got real.
I turned 58 a couple of months ago and discovered that I can see 60 from here. That is significant for the simple fact that I vividly remember that as a kid I thought that 60 was older than dirt. But now that I am here, I find that I’m trying to convince myself that those “60 is the new 40” phrases aren’t as ridiculous as they sounded a few years ago.
For the last 30 years of my life, I have dispensed advice to just about anyone who would listen about the tactics, strategies, and practices that are necessary for a successful retirement. Time to eat my own cooking. To be clear, I can see 60 from here but I still can’t see retirement. I know it’s out there somewhere. My friend Chris Hogan reminds us all “Retirement is coming!” and now I get to ask myself “will I be ready?” when it takes front and center in my life.
Here’s a bit of a checklist that I will be working through (very quietly) to make sure I have done everything I can to be ready for life after work.
- I will find every way I can to get as much money possible into tax-deferred accounts.
I have never had anyone come into my office and say “I saved too much money for retirement.” Conversely, I have often seen folks who obviously don’t have enough to maintain their former lifestyle during their “no job” years. My plan will be to max out our company retirement plan, being sure to take advantage of the match. Now is not the time to leave money on the table.
- I won’t be in a rush to take Social Security when I turn 62.
Aside from the fact that taking Social Security would be absolute confirmation of my advancing age, it just doesn’t make financial sense in my case. I plan to continue to work, and I will make over $17,000 per year. Social Security has a rule that says they deduct a dollar in benefits for every two dollars you make over the $17k limit. I would get nothing. Besides, the longer I defer, the larger my ultimate check will be, and I can put it off to age 70. (Wait, if 60 is the new 40, then is 70 the new 50?? Just wondering…)
- I will begin to think differently about my investments.
I believe in the American economy. I know that anyone who has, long-term, bet against the American economy has lost. Recessions, political turmoil, natural disasters, you name it. An advantage of my years of living is my perspective that our economy is a bit like Michael Myers from the Halloween movie. No matter what happens, it always comes back. So, I am a big fan of equity investments, but I know that the volatility that actually helped me during my accumulation years will work against me as retirement draws closer. I will need to create an investment strategy that allows me to protect some of my money from market swings and from the negative effect of rising interest rates on bond prices.
- Health care is the big unknown issue.
My personal coverage is fine for now, and Medicare isn’t available for another few years. The whole health insurance market is in turmoil and who knows what coverage will look like in the future! However, one thing is The chances of me needing some type of help like home health care, assisted living, etc. go up significantly once I retire. The cost of such can wreck the assets that I have spent a lifetime building up. (Guess our insurance specialist, Chad Roller, will be getting lunch on me so we can discuss my options.)
Just like a good Baby Boomer should, I plan to fight growing old with every ounce of my strength. It’s just part of my “never give up, never give in” personality. Unless I have my own Tom Petty event where I almost literally walk “off the stage” and die, I know that father time eventually wins, and I need to be prepared for life after work. Work until you die might sound like it’s a great option, but in reality, it’s not.
So, what’s your plan?
At GenWealth, we guide people through the maze of retirement every day, and, as one who is pretty flipped out about his own retirement prospects, I am glad to have a team of professionals I can call on to show me the way. (Wait, did I just channel Peter Frampton?)
Who is your guide?
I’ve always said you’ve got to fend for yourself, but never do so by yourself.
Do you feel like I do? (Yep, I did it again . . . too much Frampton from the 70s)
If so, call us. We are happy to help.