Essential Decisions to Make Before Retirement

Robert Powell, CFP®

What are the essential decisions you need to make before retiring?

In his new book, Don't Go Broke in Retirement: A Simple Plan to Build Lifetime Retirement Income, Steve Vernon outlined the essential decisions to make before retiring.

Don't Go Broke in Retirement
Don't Go Broke in Retirement

When to retire and whether to work part-time in retirement

If you retire in your late 50s or 60s, you might have a 25- to 30-year retirement, says Vernon. "And nobody promised it would be easy to live that long in retirement," he said.

People face a series of critical decisions as they transfer into retirement that are going to affect their health and longevity for the rest of their lives, said Vernon. "And these decisions are more complex and they have higher stakes than the savings and investing decisions they made throughout their working lives," he said. "And it's going to take some work. You just can't make these decisions quickly."

When to claim Social Security benefits

"Social Security is the biggest source of retirement income," said Vernon. 

How to deploy retirement savings

"We need to be thinking about a retirement income portfolio, just like we think of an asset portfolio," said Vernon. "So how do you build out your retirement income portfolio using your savings to generate reliable lifetime income?"

How to choose medical insurance and Medicare options wisely

"There are some options available that will affect how you recover from illnesses, which are inevitable during a long retirement," said Vernon.

Which living expenses to reduce

The vast majority of older Americans today have not saved enough money to retire full time at age 65 under their current standard of living, said Levine. 

And so they have to work longer or reduce their living expenses or some combination of those tactics, he said. 

"Nowadays with the economy and the pandemic, it's harder to work longer," said Vernon. "And so that focuses people on which living expenses to reduce."

Tough decisions

"They're tough decisions for some people," said Vernon. "And they're going to take some work."

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