Retirement has changed over the past few decades, and, perhaps even more importantly, how we fund and plan for retirement has changed. Employer pensions, along with Social Security, used to provide the bulk of retirees’ income. For most Americans, gone are the days of spending an entire career at one company and receiving a set monthly amount in retirement.
Although this change is often looked at with dismay by employees, with this freedom has come a tremendous opportunity for many people: the freedom to work for many employers and even in many different types of careers, and the ability to defer and strategically plan one’s tax liability. In addition, although many monthly pension payments appear generous at first, over the course of today’s longer retirements the increasing cost of living can erode them to the point where they no longer cover basic necessities. For all retirees, inflation is a dangerous but silent risk, and this is especially true for those whose retirement income is dependent on fixed defined-benefit pensions.
With this freedom has also come risk, and the responsibility to manage that risk. The shift to 401(k) plans has shifted investment risk from the employer to the employee and has increased the amount of knowledge and planning required to be able to afford a successful retirement. The responsibility to plan for retirement is a great one and many workers do not have the time or desire, let alone the knowledge, to do the research and work required.
The first step is generally to take a full inventory of what you have and what you will need. Although time consuming, it is only with a full account of your current situation that you will know what else may be needed to achieve your goals. Working with a financial planner can help you know what information you need and how to find it as well as providing the motivation needed to make this a priority.
Once we have determined how much income will be received and how much will be required, savings may be needed to fill in the gap. The planners at Athena Wealth Strategies have experience helping to guide clients through this process and are committed to looking at retirement savings as part of a strategy to save, invest, and distribute assets in a way that best works for you, rather than solely as a sum of money to be invested.
What we give you is not a list of recommended investments, but a snapshot of how your retirement looks today as well as the steps you can take to help make that picture match your goals.
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Julie VanTilburg, CA Insurance License #0C21028; Maritza Rogers, CA Insurance License #0E50369; Robin Starr, CA Insurance License #0G64012; Jeffrey Better, CA Insurance License #0182274; Beth Borowsky, CA Insurance License #0M72593