As you’ve learned throughout this master class, financial planning is as much about money as it is about articulating and prioritizing your goals. Your goals can be short-term or long-term, but understanding their role in the overall financial process is critical so that you don’t mismanage your assets along the way.
As you approach retirement, you’ll want to think through your retirement income plan. Common retirement income strategies include:
Drawing off the income
After you’ve spent years saving for retirement and building your nest egg, you’ll want to find a balance between a withdrawal rate that gives you assurance that your savings will last, but doesn’t shortchange your standard of living.
What will happen to all your hard work after you pass away? Estate Planning is the process of making a plan ahead of time to decide who will benefit from all you accumulated during your life, and is one of the most important steps you can take to make sure your final wishes are honored.
Have you invested for retirement? Do you have extra cash flow? After you’ve built up a solid retirement base, here are some other strategies to consider:
Individual or joint accounts
General investment accounts provide you with flexibility. Individual or joint accounts can help you save for your short, medium, or long-term goals and allow you to invest without the restraints of tax-deferred accounts. Withdrawals are penalty-free in the near-term, though you will pay taxes on dividends and capital gains.
During your income-earning years, maximize your retirement plan contributions to build your nest egg and retirement savings:
A 401(k) plan is a retirement savings plan sponsored by your employer, which allows you to save and invest part of your paycheck before taxes are taken out. Many employers offer an employer match, usually ranging dollar for dollar anywhere from 2-5% of your salary deferral (depending on the plan). If you elect not to participate, you essentially leave money on the table.
Your biggest wealth building tool is your income. If your debt payments leave you with nothing left over at the end of the month, it’s time to get serious about paying off your debt.
Start with a financial inventory of your current assets (savings and retirement accounts, business accounts, home equity) and liabilities (credit cards, student loans, mortgage payments, car payments).
Insurance is a critical element of your financial plan and the foundation of your pyramid. Different kinds of insurance (including home, health, and car insurance) protect you and your family against the cost of accidents, illness or medical needs, and other unexpected loss.
Financial planning is more than just investing. Holistic financial planning is the process of pursuing your life goals (planning for retirement, buying a home, saving for your child’s education, leaving a legacy for your family) through smart management of your resources. A solid financial plan includes goals, net worth, cash flow, retirement strategies, long-term investments, and estate planning.