- 1. Your Social Security.
After teaching workshops on social security for three years, I have come to the conclusion that about 10% of people get the most from the system. Educate yourself or see a professional before applying. Here is a link if you need to find someone local-
- 2. Your Budget.
I’m as guilty about this as anybody. Few people have budgets, and most would prefer a trip to the dentist to putting one together. But without a budget you are flying blind. It doesn’t have to be wildly complex. Just figure out how much money you need coming into your checking account each month to live. I guarantee it will make you feel better. Knowledge is power! Here’s a good sample:
- 3. Your Income.
Add up these figures (monthly amounts)
Social Security Payments +
Pension Payments +
Investment Withdrawals +
Rental Income +
Part-Time Income +
Royalties and Residuals +
MINUS taxes =
A number that is hopefully higher than your budget.
- 4. Your Spousal Income.
If married, figure out the financial impact of your spouse dying (fun!). You will probably lose a social security check, and maybe a pension check. Most people are surprised that expenses do not reduce much after a spouse dies.
- 5. Your Rainy Day Fund.
Keep a “rainy day” fund in a savings account. I suggest anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 in liquid, accessible cash.
- 6. Your Continued Investment Strategy.
Once you subtract out the “rainy day” account, the rest of your money should be invested in stocks and bonds. The absolute best way to run out of money in retirement is to have too much money in cash. It is essential that your money keeps working for you throughout your entire life.
- 7. Your Reliable News Sources.
Turn off the financial news channel. Stop reading articles by “experts” who make a living guessing when the economy is going to go up or down. Look at more pictures of kittens on the internet. You will get an equal amount of legitimate financial information from the kittens, and their cuteness will make you feel better.
- 8. Your Peace-of-Mind Financial Strategy.
Come to terms with the fact that a diversified, balanced investment strategy involving stocks and bonds is prudent and responsible. It is not gambling and it is not reckless.
I hope you learned something! Enjoy these financial strategies for a great retirement plan.