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Retirement Planning

If you are already retired, retirement planning is about not running out of savings during your lifetime. If you are 45, retirement planning is about how much money you will need in twenty years or so to be able to retire comfortably. At Bristol Financial Services we can assist people at any stage of their retirement planning.

There is no set formula to establishing a wealth accumulation strategy for retirement. Special family situations, health and lifestyle make this effort unique to each individual. However, there are some rules of thumb and basic questions that one needs to answer to help with a wealth accumulation strategy. Here are some of the key questions:

  • At what age do you hope to retire?
  • On what income, in today's dollars, do you expect/want to live on?
  • How much money do you have already dedicated to retirement?
  • How much money are you investing towards retirement?
  • Do you expect any legacy in the future?
  • How much of your estate do you wish to pass on to your children, or to charity?
  • What is your projected social security income?
  • Do you have a pension plan at work?
  • Can there be any health issues that may factor into your retirement planning?
  • What is your investment risk tolerance?

There is a little more to retirement planning in the wealth accumulation phase than most people realize. Many assumptions made about age in retirement can often prove to be mistaken. For example, according to a Transamerica Retirement Management poll, published in October 2007, 67% of current workers say they expect to work at least to some degree in retirement. Yet a much smaller number actually do. Health problems, having to care for a loved one and outdated skills are a few of the reasons why many will be unable to carry out their plans to continue working. As a result, those who can best enter retirement are those who have planned and have targeted goals that will help them be financially independent in the future.

Distribution Phase:

You made it, or at least you think you have. What do you need to consider now that you are in or close to retirement? Here are some of the basic questions that need to be answered:

  • Do I plan to leave a legacy for any children, other loved ones or a charity?
  • How much of an inflation factor do I want to build into my distribution planning?
  • How will I deal with the higher medical costs as I get older?
  • If I need long term care, how will I pay for it? Who will assist me in the planning?
  • How many years (life expectancy) should I use in my distribution model?
  • What investment mix will best help me not outlive my nest egg?
  • How much can I take out of my asset base every year and still reach my goals?

There are other questions that enter into the distribution phase of your personal situation. The key is to answer all the questions and set a plan into motion to enact the answers. Without doing this you are entering what could be some of the best years of your life in a canoe without a paddle.

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