When it comes to retirement planning, many Americans find themselves underprepared. A majority of baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X’ers (born between 1965 and 1978) often end up without retirement savings or don’t have realistic expectations about post-retirement costs. According to the Insured Retirement Institute, only 25 percent of boomers are confident of having sufficient savings in retirement. If you're in your 50s and nearing retirement without substantial savings or a plan, don’t despair -- it's never too late to start planning.
Although every working professional should contribute towards retirement from their early days, for various reasons they often delay the process. If you're nearing your 50s without a post-retirement plan and see yourself working for another 10 to 15 years, this is an opportunity to plan judiciously and save for your retirement right away.
Here are five strategic steps for achieving the best retirement plan:
1. Set Specific and Practical Goals
Proper retirement planning begins with setting specific goals. Calculate your current income, total savings, and ongoing investments to understand how much you could save, and be sure to set realistic goals.
While providing for emergency expenses and paying off a mortgage can be your short-term and intermediate goals, saving up for retirement should be your long-term goal. An annual financial review is helpful in evaluating your past goals and understanding your earnings as well as liabilities.
2. Plan a Realistic Budget Focusing on Retirement
Review your monthly and yearly expenses and list the factors that are likely to remain constant for the next few years. Now allocate funds to each category in a way that will allow you to save more for your retirement.
According to financial experts, if you're saving for retirement after 50, it's best to contribute 30 percent of your salary towards this end. If you find that goal difficult to meet, look at your budget list and reduce optional expenses.
3. Pay Off Debts
Paying off debts early will help you meet your retirement budgets and ease the financial burden. According to an AARP report, 44 percent of Americans continue to pay for their home after they retire.
Clearing off outstanding debts, credit card bills, loans, and mortgages will make it much easier to prioritize retirement funds.
4. Invest in Retirement Plans
401(k)s, 403(b)s and IRAs are some of the retirement plans available in the U.S. While 401(k)s are one of the most popular plans, not all companies offer them and those that do have their own, often restrictive, investment rules. Then there are two types of IRAs: traditional and Roth IRAs.
To make the best choice among the many retirement plan options, it's essential to have a thorough understanding of IRA vs. 401 (k), Roth IRA vs 401(k) and other investment alternatives, as well as contribution limits.
5. Diversify Your Investments
Investment diversification will help keep you on a firm financial footing. Don't stash all your money in banks; instead, create an investment portfolio and explore your options.
It's important to diversify and distribute your money among multiple sectors. Considering the volatility of markets, diversification of your investment portfolio safeguards your capital and helps it grow.
It’s Time to Step Up a Gear
A concrete retirement plan with emphasis on savings is essential to ensure a comfortable and healthy post-retirement life. Saving for your retirement is the first priority and the sooner you start, the better your chances of achieving your retirement goals.
Downsizing is an inevitable part of life. Eventually, a home can feel too large to keep up with, or perhaps its time to transition into a senior community. Whatever the reason, most people will downsize their home at least once in their life. But what do you do when you think its time for your parents or loved ones to downsize? No one wants to be seen as pushy or nosey, but if you genuinely believe it would be for the best, discussing options is a great place to start.Before you talk to your parents about downsizing, it is beneficial to be able to recognize the type of relocation they may need. Several telltale signs can indicate someone is struggling with their current space. One of the first things you should consider is if your parents need to downsize or if they need to move into Assisted Living. If you notice multiple warning signs, it might be time to sit down and have an honest conversation with your parents. The signs that someone may need to downsize are:Do your parents mention the desire to lower monthly housing costs?Do your parents talk about relocating?Are there signs that upkeep is becoming difficult? (Untended yards, dirty rooms, etc.)Are your parents starting to think of plans for their future?Are your parents looking for more independence and fun?Any of the above signs can indicate that now is the time to start considering downsizing. Once someone downsizes, they will have fewer monthly expenses, less to clean, and less to worry about! This can provide more freedom for your parents to explore new things and experiences.The signs that someone may need to downsize into Assisted Living:Are your parents eating balanced meals regularly? Are your parents still able to get around safely? (Keep an eye out for bruises or minor injuries that may indicate recent falls/accidents)Are they wearing fresh, clean clothes each time your visit? Are they laundering towels and linens regularly?Are they able to manage their medications appropriately? (Look for stockpiled or expired medications)Do they have difficulty moving around their home? (Are there blocked walkways or stairs that are causing issues?)If you notice that your parents are struggling to stay safe and healthy in their home, then it is time to consider discussing assisted living. Keeping an eye out for warning signs can give you time to talk about moving before they have an accident. Once you decide that your parents should downsize, what do you do? The best way to broach the subject is to have an open and honest conversation with your parents. Explain your feelings and concerns but let them know that the decision is theirs.Giving your parents the CHAT:Communicate openly. Explain your concerns and why you believe that downsizing would be beneficial. If you are worried about their safety or if you want them to be closer to you, be direct and say so. Have an open mind. Your parents may have different opinions and feelings towards the situation. Respect their position and listen when they talk.Ask questions. Ask how your parents are feeling about the conversation and about downsizing. If they have concerns, address them.Talk to an expert. Reach out to your local Senior Move Manager and ask questions about the downsizing process. If your parents have any questions, pass them along.The hardest part of the process is having an open and honest conversation. Something to keep in mind is that this process takes time! There will be strong feelings and deep emotions; you will most likely need several sessions of talking with your parents before any decision is made. Don't be tempted to rush your parents into a choice they are not 100% on board with. But if you start the process and take the time to have meaningful conversations, both your parents and yourself will feel more confident about a transition to a new space. More tips about helping your parents decide to downsize and transition can be found in our book, Chronological Order: The Fine Print for a Large Life.
Blended families are when people get remarried, but have children from a previous marriage. This can be a little trickier for estate planning, but nonetheless, very possible! This has become an increasingly common arrangement.The biggest concern is ensuring assets are divided accordingly. In the event a Will is left solely to your new spouse, will your children be a factor in the surviving spouses own estate planning documents or beneficiaries of accounts you left for your surviving spouse? Do not worry, there are systems in place for this occurrence.One way to ensure your children will still receive an inheritance from you is a trust. A Trust is established to hold your assets and will state how you want the assets to be distributed. An example, your spouse can receive some assets outright, and an income from other assets. Then when your spouse passes away, your children will receive the assets that your spouse was just receiving income. Just be sure to voice your concerns to your attorney to ensure that your wishes are honored even after your death.Another example: if you have your new spouse as a beneficiary on your retirement accounts, such as an IRA or 401K. You may have your children listed as your contingent beneficiaries. If you are survived by your spouse, the spouse will now own that retirement account. The contingent beneficiaries are no longer a part of the plan. Your spouse needs to update the beneficiaries, and may not include your children as the primary beneficiaries to the account. Again, these are issues to discuss with your attorney and prepare a plan that will give your spouse the income from the retirement account, but the remainder to your children upon the death of your spouse.While blended families can seem more complex, it is very important to plan ahead. Even if families are all getting along now, unfortunately, relationships can change after someone passes away. Your new spouse also will have similar concerns to make sure his or her children, or other family members are not forgotten. Just be sure to sit down with your new spouse and any family members you wish to involve and discuss your wishes in the event of your passing. At the end of the day these decisions are yours to make, whether that coincides with the wishes of all parties involved, or not. Contact us to get started with your estate plan.
Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, one of western Pennsylvanias largest aging services providers, opened a first-of-its-kind on-site health clinic to serve the residents of its affordable housing apartments in the Washington area. The clinic is located inside Bellmead Apartments, 815 S. Main St., Washington, which serves about 120 residents. A ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony was held March 16. The new, on-site clinic means Bellmead residents can make doctors appointments and visit the clinic without having to leave the apartment building. Residents of two other nearby apartments operated by the Network HaveLoch Commons and Heritage House of Houston can schedule appointments to receive care directly inside their apartments. These two apartments serve a combined 90 residents.This Collaborative Healthy Living Model was made possible by a $500,000 Healthy Aging Challenge grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. Curana Health, a primary care medical provider group, is partnering with Presbyterian SeniorCare Network in this effort. Celeste Golonski, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, said this will help older adults to navigate the healthcare system more easily. We understand the healthcare system is overwhelming, complicated, and frustrating especially for seniors, Golonski said. Our goal is for every senior to get the care and services they need, when needed, in the way they choose. More clinics are expected to open throughout the year in affordable housing communities across the Network. The overall effort is an outgrowth of the new Center for Innovation and Care Transformation at Presbyterian SeniorCare Network. About Presbyterian SeniorCare NetworkFor 95 years, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network has been focused on Making Aging Easier for older adults and their families. Presbyterian SeniorCare Network serves more than 6,500 older adults through in-home and community-based programs across 11 Western Pennsylvania counties.
At Sharek Law Firm we dont just draft documents. We ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Life and Legacy Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than youve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love.I cherish the opportunity to help secure what you love. I look forward to learning your story, hearing what matters to you, and helping you to discover what's actually needed to keep your loved ones out of court and out of conflict when something happens to you (or them). We specialize in creating wills and trusts to achieve your goals, whether you're located in Pittsburgh or outside of Western PA, we are here to help all Pennsylvania residents.Our law firm was built with your needs of in mind. We understand you are BUSY, and you value ease, convenience, and efficiency. You want to know youve made the best decisions to protect your family and assets, and that your plan will work when your loved ones need it most. We also help make sure your adult children are properly prepared to care for you and what you leave behind.Weve developed unique systems to give you the same access to legal planning as was previously only available to the super-wealthy, so you can have the guidance you need to build and maintain a life of prosperity and wealth. And, to keep your family out of court and out of conflict, which is the greatest risk to the people you love and all you have created, even if youve already worked with a traditional lawyer or created documents online. Contact us to get started today!