Thursday, May 07, 2015
A retirement reality check
If you have already retired or if you can count the number of years until retirement on your fingers, then please heed this friendly warning: Unless you’re already making the most of your current retirement-planning strategies, then it may be difficult to lay the groundwork for a financially secure future.
Is your portfolio on a course that’s destined to lead to a retirement-income shortfall? Consider these strategies that can help improve your long-term outlook.
During Your Working Years
Determine an appropriate time frame for applying for Social Security benefits. If you plan to apply before your so-called “full retirement age,” then you can expect to receive lower monthly benefits. Delaying your application could increase your benefits. Detailed information about your specific situation is available online from the Social Security Estimator. Contact the Social Security Administration at least three months before retirement to apply for benefits.
When You Reach Retirement
Make arrangements for your retirement account distribution strategies. If you participate in a workplace retirement plan, contact your employer’s human resources office to learn what withdrawal options are available to you. Once you have that information handy, you’ll need to decide whether to begin withdrawing money from your taxable accounts or tax-deferred accounts first.
Keep in mind that the IRS requires most retirement savers to begin taking withdrawals, known as required minimum distributions (RMDs), from employer-sponsored retirement accounts and traditional IRAs after reaching age 70½. If you don’t take your RMDs, you could be forced to pay substantial tax penalties. RMD rules recently became less complex, but it’s still important that you understand them and implement an appropriate distribution strategy.
All Retirement Investors
Review your postretirement medical insurance needs. For example, you might want to think about purchasing coverage to supplement Medicare benefits.
Your retirement security is very important. A smart first step to keeping your retirement strategies on track is to contact a qualified financial professional.