Your Retirement Journey

Each of these boxes describe a particular stage of the retirement journey.  Click on any of these life stage icons to connect to the corresponding life stage foundational page. Each foundational page is designed to address the unique issues to that phase of retirement.

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Women and Retirement

Women often become the sole financial decision maker of their home. Whether it’s the declining health of their spouse, their spouse’s premature death or a divorce, it can bring about an overwhelming set of new responsibilities that may have once been shared. This may require learning some new skills, but more importantly is the reorganization of accounts, documents and realignment of financial priorities.

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Pre-Retirement

Many years are spent preparing for retirement. It’s a very big step in a person’s life.  How much should I be saving?  How should my money be invested?  How am I situated compared to everyone else?  There are many questions.  From now until you retire, you have the opportunity to examine your progress and make improvements. One thing is certain — it is easier to avoid mistakes than to fix them.

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Downsized or Retiring Early

Companies are always cutting costs and the biggest casualty is the employee. Usually a few years before he or she is ready to retire, the pink slip is being mailed. Beyond the outright fear that losing your job, there are practical day-to-day problems that have to considered. From household budgeting to the serious consideration of early retirement, a financial plan can make this tough situation more manageable.

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Early Retirement Years

During the first few years of retirement, there are a number of questions that have to be addressed.  Decisions about your investment accounts, when to begin Social Security benefits and what is a safe withdrawal rate can all be complicated issues that require serious consideration. All the while, investment markets, tax rules and your personal life are changing. Your strategy is important and the more information the better.

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Mid-Retirement

The mid years of retirement provide many opportunities to improve your situation. Tax strategies, investment planning and proper handling of the required IRA distributions should drive your strategies during this phase. Because the priorities change during this stage, I consider it a good time to get a “second opinion” on your investment accounts. Estate planning becomes more important at this point, and caring for elderly parents often fall on the retirees shoulders too.

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Later Retirement

Protecting and passing wealth becomes central to the planning for this stage. Not to suggest that daily investment decisions aren’t important, but the focus moves toward income taxes, estate taxes, account ownership, and proper will, trust, and estate documents. Gifting strategies become more common at this point, as do concerns about the increasing cost of long term health care.

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Social Security

There are over 2,700 guidelines for electing Social Security benefits. If you make a mistake in the way that you file, Social Security gives you only one year and one chance to to fix that mistake. Understanding how spousal and survivor benefits, delayed retirement credits, cost of living and many other features work is critical to making your best decision at retirement.