Health, Wealth and Wisdom.
Need a Financial Tune-Up?
Have you kept your retirement savings on track, or have you taken a bumpier road? Maybe you’ve gone completely off the beaten path. Now is a good time to take a close look at your finances and refine your plan.
How much will you need for retirement? Is your target still on target? Look at the cost of living, life events, your health and other things that might have changed since the last time you looked at your plan. If needed, reset your target and fine tune your strategy to hit it.
It Pays to Be Fit Past 50
As health care costs rise, so can your level of worry about having enough for retirement. Some health problems and their costs come with age. But some can be dodged by staying healthy, especially later in life. Being fit lowers your risk of injury and illness, which also lowers the out-of-pocket expense of visiting your doctor, a specialist or the emergency room.
Want more motivation? Research shows that men who exercise earn 6% more than men who don’t. The gap is 10% for women. Fit people tend to miss fewer workdays, which leads to more opportunities and pay.
Evaluate your fitness and see if you can work in some workouts. It could really pay off.
About 70% of Americans who reach age 65 will likely need long-term (custodial) or medical care at some point. You may want to figure the cost of long-term care in Kansas into your retirement savings plan.
|Cost Per Month|
|Type of Care||2012||2037 (est)|
|Home Health Aide||$3,546||$6,971|
|Adult Day Health Care||$1,408||$2,100|
|Assisted Living (private one bedroom)||$3,490||$11,875|
|Nursing Home (semi-private room)||$4,715||$9,800|
|Nursing Home (private room)||$5,232||$13,648|
Medicare only covers certain types of care:
- Care in a long-term care hospital.
- Skilled nursing care in a skilled nursing facility.
- Eligible home health services.
- Hospice & respite care.
It's (Almost) Never too Late.
Max Out to Catch Up
It’s late in your career, and you realize you haven’t saved enough. Your spouse had major medical expenses. You went through two or three layoffs. You survived, but you’re short on retirement savings. Have you considered playing catch-up?
Most eligible retirement plans let you save more than the usual cap when you reach age 50.
For 2016, Traditional or Roth IRA contributions are capped at $5,500 a year. But if you’re age 50 or older, you can put in up to $1,000 more ($6,500 total) to catch up.
All 457(b) plans, like KPERS 457, are capped at $18,000 a year? Same with 403(b) plans. But the catch-up cap is $6,000 a year ($24,000 total), if you’re age 50 or older.
If you haven’t saved enough, don’t give up…catch up.
Delay Retirement Date
Postponing retirement can help you catch up in two ways.
- It can give you more time to save and earn. If your savings engine is at “full rev” and you’re putting away catch-up money, think about putting off retirement until you hit your full retirement savings target.
- If you decide to put your Social Security benefits on pause, it can increase your benefit after you hit play. The longer you wait, the bigger your benefit.
It’s a big decision. But if you know where you stand and where you want to be, your decision should be easier.
Social Security. Timing is Everything.
If you start taking your Social Security benefit before full retirement, you’ll get less. But working beyond full retirement means you’ll get more. It can be a tough call. The Social Security Administration (SSA) gives you resources to help you make that decision.
But maybe you’re thinking you’ll take your benefit early and keep working to make up for it. You can do that, but there are a few limits to keep in mind.
- If you work after you reach full retirement age, you can keep all of your full Social Security benefits no matter how much you earn.
- If you work and do not reach full retirement age during that year, you have a $15,720 earnings limit. The SSA will withhold $1 of benefit for every $2 you earn over the limit.
- If you work and reach full retirement age during that year, you have a $41,880 earnings limit until the month you reach full retirement age. Until you reach full retirement age, the SSA withholds $1 for every $3 above the earnings limit that year.
Your benefit will be increased at your full retirement age to account for benefits withheld due to earlier earnings.
It Just Got Personal
The decision of when to start receiving Social Security benefits is personal. A good age for your friend, or your second cousin, is not necessarily a good age for you.
Things to consider:
- Cash needs
- Current health
- Family longevity
- Will you keep working?
- Other retirement income
- Financial needs/obligations
- Your future benefit amount
Spend Less. Save More. Smile Big.
Are you ready to retire?
The money side is easier to figure out. But also ask yourself if you’re mentally ready. It’s a whole new ballgame. Take your time and think about it.
Can you afford it?
Look at income and expenses. Do your estimates. Maybe even do a dry run by living a few months on your possible retirement budget. If it doesn’t work, maybe you need to delay retirement.
How will you fill your time?
This is an important part of retirement planning. Make a list of everything you’ve always wanted to do. Then decide how many you could realistically do in retirement.
Controlling Spending is Critical
Now it’s about prioritizing spending, but that’s true for any career stage. As you cruise through pre-retirement today, you should be thinking about your retirement budget down the road.
Most people have a dip in income after they retire. Can you continue spending like you did when you were younger, especially with retirement around the corner? Probably not. It might be time to be a more disciplined spender.
Start by cutting expenses while you’re still making good money. Every little bit helps. And it lets you sock away a little extra as you’re coming down the homestretch.
Stamp Out the Last Embers of Debt
In 2013, nearly 40% of people ages 65-74 were still paying off their home loans - an increase of 126% over the past 20 years.
How much should you focus on extinguishing your debt before you retire? It depends. If you take a lump-sum distribution, what are the tax implications? Will you be burning money just to pay off your debt sooner? Will it truly help your financial situation?
On the other hand, maybe you have high-interest loans that will eat away at your retirement dreams.
Help your future self by focusing on extinguishing as much debt as possible before you reach your retirement day. So it won’t come back to burn you.