Peach Tree Times
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Peach Tree Times
Once you’re living off your nest egg, it’s more important than ever to manage your money wisely. Unfortunately, many older adults head into retirement with a poor understanding of their financial needs and their ability to meet them. Make sure you don’t encounter any unwelcome surprises during retirement by making an informed financial plan.
Make a Budget
The advice to save 70 to 80 percent of your pre-retirement income is a helpful rule of thumb, but now that you’re no longer working, it’s important to reassess your financial standing. While retirement comes with savings in many areas, like no dependent children, no payroll taxes and (hopefully) no mortgage, life can get expensive in other ways.
According to U.S. News, a couple retiring in 2017 will spend an average of $275,000 on health care throughout their retirement — and that number is predicted to rise.
Although you’re healthy now, there’s no predicting the future. More than one third of the U.S. population will be diagnosed with cancer over the course of their lives, and more than one quarter of older adults fall each year.
An increasing number of older adults are opting to purchase long-term care insurance to cover the gap between Medicare benefits and actual health care needs.
Because of these unexpected costs, it’s not enough to make a household budget and multiply by it by the years you expect to live. A retirement budget should take into account routine, capital and unexpected expenses. Kiplinger recommends setting aside 10 percent of retirement savings for unexpected expenses.
Assess Your Finances
Now that you have an ideal budget, it’s time to evaluate your retirement savings. While Social Security benefits help seniors get by, at an average monthly payment of $1,404 in 2018, it’s not enough to make ends meet. That means you’ll need to rely on pensions, 401(k) and IRA accounts and other savings to cover the remaining expenses.
Sit down with your financial advisor to evaluate your assets and determine how much money you’ll have to live on.
Close the Gaps
Seniors who do the math and discover they don’t have enough savings to fund a comfortable retirement have a few options.
If you own a home, an easy choice is use your home equity. Downsizing to a smaller house is a good move for older adults’ safety, and it also offers big benefits to their finances. A smaller home costs less to upkeep and the savings from the home sale can be used in retirement.
If selling isn’t an option, a reverse mortgage allows seniors to continue living in their home while receiving tax-free payments based on the home’s equity. However, a reverse mortgage must be repaid when you move out of your home or die. Typically, that means selling the house.
Another option for adding to your nest egg is settling your life insurance policy. According to Mason Finance, there are a few reasons why a senior might want to settle their life insurance policy, such as if you no longer have a spouse or children to serve as beneficiary or you have a term policy and it’s approaching the expiration date. Settling an unneeded policy offers the benefit of no longer paying monthly premiums and receiving a payout greater than the policy’s cash surrender value.
Selling a home, applying for a reverse mortgage, and settling a life insurance policy are all big decisions, so talk to your financial advisor before making any changes.
Depending on the gap between how much money you have and how much you need, it could be a matter of going back to work for a couple of years before retiring or living more frugally than you had hoped. The world of retirement finance is complex, but a good financial advisor can help you make smart choices confidently.
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