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Home Blog Creating a Vision for Your Retirement

Creating a Vision for Your Retirement


What comes to mind when you daydream about retirement?

Is it travel? Time with family? Less responsibility?

While it may be easy to conjure up these images, too often the planning stops with the daydream and we fail to really think through what our vision is and how we plan to get there. Getting started as early as possible in your retirement planning is important, but for those nearing the 5-10 year countdown to retirement it starts to become more real. It is now time to shift from deciding how much I need to save each year to beginning some soul-searching about what you want retirement to look like. 

Here a few questions you might start working through: 

What is your vision for retirement?

Will you completely stop working or engage in some form of part-time work? Will you relocate? Will you travel more? Spend more time with family and friends? Volunteer or take on a new hobby? Care for a loved one?   

While the possibilities are endless and it can be overwhelming, it is a great time to start having these discussions, especially with your spouse if you are married. It is completely normal to have anxiety, as this is a major life change. However, by visualizing where you want to be it can really help you make sure you can make it happen when the time comes. Bounce ideas off your family and friends. Don’t assume anything! If you plan to move closer to your children, make sure they know. If you want to travel more, do some research, and try to define what you mean by travel and what the potential cost may be.   

Where will you live?

Although this is part of developing that overall vision, this decision is so important you want to think through it carefully.   

Change of residency has both legal and tax implications. Make sure you understand what those are and the impact they may have on you. If you have always dreamed of relocating to a new area, take the time to visit and explore. Get a good understanding of the housing market, the local community and amenities, and cost of living for the area.   

What are your family dynamics?

While retirement is “your time” family dynamics can quickly cause a shift in plans if they are not carefully considered. Some common issues we see and think you might want to consider: 

  • Your loving children
    Although (typically) you are no longer raising children at retirement, there are many ways their needs/concerns/objections can still impact your retirement. Children may have a strong reaction to the idea of you selling the family home. You may have children requiring support for health or financial reasons. The best way to plan for these concerns is to open the lines of communication.   

  • Parents and siblings
    Many retirees are faced with caring for aging loved ones.  As you put together your vision for retirement, don’t forget to think through what involvement you may have in their care. If you anticipate being involved, consider if they have long term care in place and what support they may need from you.   

What are your income needs? 

This can be a tricky question. Many experts will tell you to plan to replace between 70% and 85% of your pre-retirement income. The reality is, while rules of thumb can be helpful, there is much more to consider. Ask yourself: 

  • Are you already using all of your income currently? 
    If you save the majority of your income now, your income needs are likely much less. You really should be looking at your anticipated spending to determine an appropriate income need in retirement.Be careful here. People are often surprised that spending doesn’t go down as much as anticipate in retirement. This is why it is so important to really set forth a clear vision. If you plan to buy a vacation home and travel the world, expect increased spending.   

  • Other factors to discuss with your planning team include: inflation, market fluctuations, social security and rising healthcare costs.Often a plan factors in many scenarios so you can rest easy knowing your plan is flexible and can handle the stress of inevitable changes. 

What will be your income sources?

Just as we help clients create a diversified portfolio, it is often prudent to consider a diversified income strategy in retirement.  Here a few common income sources: 

  • Social Security
    For many Americans, this is a primary source of retirement income. There are many factors that go into making a decision about when to sign up for social security. Additionally, there is a good reason to pay attention to the viability of the program itself.  In the Social Security Board of Trustees 2021 report, the Trustees projected the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (“OASI”) Trust Fund, which pays benefits, will be insolvent by 2033. Absent intervention, by 2033, payments could be reduced. Don’t let this create anxiety.  Instead, talk through scenarios and plan for both the best and worst case scenarios. 

  • Retirement Accounts
    While 401ks and IRAs are a great retirement income vehicle, consider the tax implications of drawing from these sources. Recall tax was deferred going into the vehicles and will be taxed coming out. Also, consider you are required to take distributions (“RMDs”) at a certain age. Following the SECURE Act, the required age of RMDs increased from 70 and a half to 72. Stay tuned for more changes in the future. 

  • Roth 401k or IRA
    Recall, contributions to Roths are made with after-tax dollars meaning distributions are tax-free. As you develop your income plan, you may determine in advance of retirement implementing strategies to move income to this bucket is ideal to create tax diversity. 

  • Other Employer Plans
    If you are fortunate enough to have a pension, Employee Stock Ownership plan, or deferred compensation plan, it is critical to understand the impact of this source of income and any options you may have available to you.   

  • Other Sources of Income
    Will you receive an inheritance? Passive income from real estate or business interests? Investment income? Part-time income? All of these sources can play a role in developing your overall income strategy.   

While the above questions are certainly not all inclusive, taking time to think through them helps prepare you to tackle how you get there and how you flourish once you arrive. And don’t worry, our team is here to help you walk through the process.  There is nothing better than watching a vision for retirement become a reality, and together we will make that happen. As always, we encourage you to reach out to our team with questions.  We are here to help. 


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