Hartford’s Top Financial Advisor Reveals Retirement Strategies for 2024
Gone are the days when a lifetime career with one employer led to a secure pension payment for the rest of your life. Now, the responsibility for building a retirement fund primarily falls on individuals with matching employer contributions. Retirement planning in 2024 is another opportunity to add to your retirement assets.
For many, saving enough assets for a comfortable, secure retirement is a significant challenge. Several variables can impact the accumulation of these assets: Inflation, taxes, rising life expectancies, and divorce, to name just a few.
As a fee-only financial advisor in Hartford, CT, we’ve adapted our retirement planning process to account for baby boomers experiencing longer lifespans and millennials postponing marriage and their number of children. It’s an indisputable fact that social changes are reshaping American family structures. In the 1960s, over 73% of children lived with two parents in their first marriage. Recent Pew Research Center data shows this figure has fallen to 46% and may decline even further.
Events like remarriage, blended families, adult children living with parents, and single-parent households drive these changes, leading to families with different looks and realities.
How you structure your retirement plan should be based on your current situation with an allowance for the unexpected – the “what ifs” in life.
Common Retirement Concerns
Over the years, we’ve helped many affluent individuals and families create comprehensive retirement plans. Regardless of economic status, there are common concerns that we hear from people we meet with when we start gathering the facts we need to develop their plans:
- Have I saved enough to retire?
- What investment strategies should I consider to grow my retirement savings?
- Are there any tax-efficient ways to save more money for retirement?
- What steps can I take to ensure my retirement income lasts throughout my lifetime?
- How do I account for unexpected healthcare expenses during my retirement years?
Heritage Insights: We believe incorporating these concerns into your retirement plan is important for the plan’s overall success. Bottom line: You need to be able to sleep at night knowing that you have a flexible plan in place that will pursue your financial goals.
Retirement Planning for Women
Retirement planning for women has evolved significantly over the past several years based on changes in economic conditions and family dynamics. Statistically, women live longer than men, meaning their retirement savings must last even longer – into their 90’s or longer.
Oftentimes, women experience career interruptions due to family responsibilities. These breaks can impact their long-term earnings potential and the amounts they accumulate for retirement. Women investors should consider strategies like spousal IRA contributions or maximizing retirement contributions while working to maximize their retirement assets.
With longer life expectancies, women may also face higher healthcare expenses in their latter retirement years. Planning for these future costs is critical and can involve options like long-term care insurance or health savings accounts.
Whether by choice or circumstance, being single definitely can impact your retirement planning efforts. As a single woman, you may have to rely solely on your retirement savings and Social Security, making personalized financial planning and robust savings strategies much more crucial.
Heritage Insights: As a modern woman, your retirement plan should be dynamic, accounting for a longer lifespan, potential career gaps, the wage gap, heightened healthcare needs, and the possibility of singlehood.
The FIRE Movement: Retiring Early
Many Americans are embracing a growing trend: Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE). The FIRE movement emphasizes aggressive saving and investing to attain financial independence earlier in life, giving you more flexibility to spend time however you want. It’s important to note that early retirement through the FIRE movement may not suit everyone.
The trend of early retirement is increasingly popular but demands meticulous planning and key strategic decision-making. For example, a thorough evaluation of retirement income, expenses, and tax obligations. A bad decision based on inaccurate information may lead to financial strain later in life.
If you decide to retire early, you should include health care coverage until you qualify for Medicare. Here are some healthcare alternatives:
- Opt for a high-deductible health plan and save for future medical expenses using a Health Savings Account (HSA)
- If applicable, join your spouse’s health plan as a dependent until you turn 65, then shift to Medicare
- Continue your current health coverage under COBRA for up to 18 months, though it might be expensive
- This option provides flexibility, but it is important to weigh the plan’s suitability against its costs.
Heritage Insights: Besides health care, early retirees should also focus on retirement spending strategies, timing of Social Security benefits, investment withdrawal methods, and efficient tax planning. A clear understanding of your current financial situation and long-term objectives is key to a confident approach to your retirement years that may last for decades.
Social Security Planning
Another crucial aspect of retirement planning is deciding when to start receiving Social Security benefits. This decision significantly impacts your long-term financial security, and an understanding of the nuances can make an important difference.
Starting benefits early, at age 62, results in a reduced monthly amount. This reduction is permanent and can be as much as 40% less than if you had waited until your full retirement age (FRA), which varies depending on your birth year. For many, this reduction can pose challenges in later years, especially if Social Security is an important source of retirement income.
Delaying benefits past your FRA, up to age 70, increases your monthly benefit. This increase can be significant – as much as 8% per year plus the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA). Waiting could be advantageous if you anticipate having a longer life expectancy and want to extend your lifetime benefits.
However, there’s more to consider than just the size of the monthly check. Tax implications should also be factored into your decision-making process. Social Security benefits may be taxable depending on your overall income level. Your Social Security benefits could be partially taxed if you have substantial income from other sources, such as a pension or withdrawals from other types of retirement accounts (traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs).
Your decision should align with your financial situation, including income needs, health status, and life expectancy. Early benefits make sense if you need income now or have health concerns; delaying benefits could offer greater long-term security and potential tax benefits.
Heritage Insights: Work with an experienced AIF® wealth management team that can create a unique plan that addresses the right timing to begin taking your Social Security benefits.
About Heritage Capital
You’ve put in the effort to build your net worth. As you approach retirement, it’s time for your money to start working harder for you. Many financial advisors are ready to assist you, but not all share the same commitment to your success.
When you’re retired or nearing retirement, opportunities for do-overs are rare. It’s crucial to get things right from the very start.
At Heritage Capital, we have been guiding individuals through their retirement decision-making for over three decades. Your finances are directly managed by our lead portfolio manager, Paul Schatz. Paul is a highly experienced professional, often featured on business channels like CNBC, Fox Business News, and Yahoo Finance.
Our focus has been clear for over 30 years: our most important role is to help our clients accumulate, preserve, and distribute retirement assets based on their unique circumstances and goals.
Our approach is unique. Rather than use third-party money managers, our experienced investment professional will manage your funds in-house. This allows us to monitor for results and risks constantly. We don’t wait to react after a volatile stock market impacts your account. We are proactive, prioritizing the preservation of your assets over everything else.
Ready for a retirement plan tune-up? Contact us to schedule an introductory call.