Monday, June 23, 2008

H is for Honesty - Retirement Planning

We all want honesty, except when it comes to our finances. We desperately want to be told what we want to hear about our retirement plans rather than what we need to hear. And the honesty we look for - or better yet, the lies we would like to be told are as follows:

1. We will have enough money to retire.
I would love to believe that you or any one has this calculated correctly. It seems that each day the free market has the opportunity to do what it does best, the number we have assumed is best case scenario, needs to be recalculated.

2. We will be able to get debt free.
Debt free is a nice goal but debt management is a more honest approach to what your future holds. We use credit at the pumps, in restaurants or any time - and this is just good advice - we lose sight of our credit cards during a purchase. So each month, we need to manage that debt.

3. We will be able to estimate the cost of insurance.
Most of can't do that now. Do you assume that it will be easier on a fixed income? think again. Fidelity suggests that a nest egg of just over a million dollars might be enough to cover your future health insurance costs.

4. Our kids and in some case, our parents will not have an effect on our retirement plans.
If you believe this to be true, you never had kids and/or your parents have since been deceased. otherwise, these two groups will cost you more than you think. A recent New York Times article suggested that inheritances that may have been expected by many near-to-retirement adults can no longer be assumed. For those of us with parents who have no inheritance to spend down, you may be the only salvation for their financial well-being. And your kids...

5. Your investments are not as honest as you once assumed they were.
Look at oil. Look at the stock market. Look at bonds. Look at your tax bill. Need I say more?

Being financially honest with yourself is step one in considering how far you need to go to get to some semblance of retirement.

A is for Asset Allocation

B is for Balance

C is for Continuity

D is for Diversity

E is for (Tracking) Errors

F is for Free-Float

G is for Gross Income

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