Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Retirement Planning at 60-years-old

Now is the time to ask the serious questions.

Are you considering what your after-work sources of income will be? Can you live on them now? Take your Social Security payments, any pensions you might receive, and any other source of income from savings or retirement plans, add them together and create a household budget around them. Does this support your idea of retirement?

Can you afford taxes, insurance and upkeep on your home? Is it too big? Will it need major repairs to last until you are eighty, or ninety? Do you still have a mortgage? Have you created equity? Do you have debt?

It is the classic observation that George Foreman made: “The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it's at what income.”

There is an excellent chance that you will still be working when you celebrate your sixtieth birthday. The ability to remain viable and contribute something to the workplace should be worn as a badge of honor. Unless you are working for the wrong reasons.

If you are working because you failed to save enough for the retirement you envisioned, then now is the time to lower those expectations just a little bit. Many of us harbor outsized visions of what we want retirement to be. By age sixty, we will either be disappointed or overjoyed.

Perhaps you have been blessed when better than average health. If so, working beyond what many consider normal retirement age is creating wealth that will make your post-work years more comfortable.

But far too many adults are entering this time of life with less-than-perfect health and worse, the inability to pay for health insurance to cover it – if they have insurance at all.

Debt, and not just mortgage debt, has become a problem among this age group, weighing on their mental well-being and forcing many to work because they have to rather than because they want to.

It is possible that you have more than you think. If you have lived in the same house and built up a good deal of equity – the difference between what you owe and what the house is worth, this might be a solution to your problem. You could downsize, selling the property, satisfying your debts and even creating a small, but much needed nest egg to help with your retirement years.

If you do, you should consider places where the amenities meet your needs. Do you want to be close to your family? For many people thinking about retirement, this is a serious consideration. They want to be near their families, help with their grandchildren and even be closer to their own children.

If you intend to move, ask yourself if there a viable and mixed population present? Recent studies have proven that communities that cater exclusively to seniors do not fulfill many of the social needs of people entering retirement. They like the neighborhoods they live in to have a good mix of people already living there. Businesses often look for the same types of neighborhoods and in doing so, increase the livability of the area.

If you are considering working until you are seventy, you can delay taking your Social Security withdrawals until later. Any retirement savings in 401(k) plans or IRAs will need to begin distributing funds by age 70 ½. Until then, you can continue to make contributions.

Additional reading

1 comment:

smargolis said...

It is crazy to think that people never accounted for life expectancy increasing and its affects on retirement planning. This site has some great information on the topic as well.