April 9-13 is National Retirement Planning Week, which is part of Financial Literacy Month, and is a good time for retirees, soon-to-be retirees and even those not close to retirement to start planning for the “golden years.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March 2017, 67 percent of private industry workers had access to medical care benefits, and 66 percent had access to retirement benefits. Fifty-eight percent of workers had access to both medical care and retirement benefits, while 24 percent of workers had access to neither benefit.
Ashley Stapleton, a Edward Jones Financial Advisor in downtown Newnan, has been a financial advisor for more than 10 years. Stapleton said it’s never too early to start saving for retirement.
“In fact, I would say the earlier you start, the better and the more prepared you’ll be,” Stapleton said.
Stapleton said the top question he receives from people who are about to retire is, “Will I outlive my money?”
“Basically, you need to go over five steps,” Stapleton said. “I try to see where they stand at that moment, as far as assets, how much money they think they’ll need per month and how they can get to retirement based on what they have. You also need to discuss the steps it will take to get where the retiree wants to be and how to stay on track.”
The financial advisor recommends that anyone, especially those in their 30’s and 40’s, participate in a 401K retirement plan, especially if there’s a match.
“That’s the No. 1 mistake I see,” he said. “Many have never participated in a plan in which a match is involved, but they really need to do that.”
Stapleton recommends that anyone planning for retirement sit down with a professional.
“A lot of times there’s no cost involved to consult and many people have never sought professional advice,” Stapleton said. “Just sitting down with somebody will go a long way.
I’ve had clients that thought they didn’t have enough, but I was able to show them that they did. I’ve also had people that thought they had enough, but they actually didn’t. The biggest thing is to just determine what retirement looks like like for you and knowing your options.”
Other retirement planning tips according to Acts Retirement-Life Communities include:
• Medical costs – As you age, your medical costs may rise due to illness or simply the increased number of tests recommended by doctors. These costs can be offset to some extent with Medicare or Medicaid, but they cannot be ignored. Prescriptions alone can be quite expensive and must be included in monthly budgeting.
• Home ownership – Even if you’ve paid off your home, you still need to consider property taxes, homeowners insurance and basic home maintenance. Also, determine if downsizing is an option.
• Vehicle upkeep –Even if you’ve paid off a vehicle, the vehicle will require maintenance and auto insurance.
• Travel/entertainment – You have more free time for recreational activities, but may not have the income to support it. Retirees should financially plan for having fun too, so that you won't feel deprived. Take advantage of senior discounts.