You often hear that people spend more time planning a trip than they do planning for retirement. Why not bring the vacation mindset to your financial life? Here are 4 ways to make your retirement planning more successful and more fun.
- Use the power of time – By booking a beach house or plane tickets early in the season, you save money and have many more choices on timing and locations. The same concept applies to retirement planning. Those who take the voyage seriously by starting to save early typically have more flexibility, more money, freedom, and fun in retirement.
- Decide how you will spend your days – Will your beach stay be about relaxation, exploration, adventure, or a mixture of all three? Similarly in retirement, how will you spend your days? Will you unwind, pursue your passion, care for family or even work part-time? Understanding the type of retirement you desire increases your chances of achieving your dream.
- Take stock of what you have before you go – Do you have everything you need for your trip? Do you have the right clothes, bathing suits, suntan lotion, beach chairs, etc.? Likewise for retirement, is your portfolio fully diversified? Do you have a sufficient amount of large, mid, and small cap stocks. Do you have adequate exposure to international stocks and bonds? Does your asset allocation match your tolerance for risk? Are you saving enough?
- Remember it’s about the journey not the destination – Many times people will say that it is more fun planning the vacation than going on the trip. This true for retirement as well. It’s not about getting to the end of our working lives. It’s about enjoying the journey of life that gets us to retirement. A life filled with memories, twists, turns, and laughter along the way.
So plan for your ideal retirement, prepare for the ups and downs of life, and focus on enjoying the journey!
Open enrollment season is a great time to review your finances and make wise choices based upon your own personal financial journey.
Here are a few of thoughts on open enrollment:
High Deductible Health Insurance Options: If you elect a High Deductible Health Insurance Plan with a Health Savings Account, be prepared to manage your health care dollars. Think of your Health Saving Account as a personal savings account except the funds are used to cover health care costs. You control how much money to set aside for health care costs and manage how these funds will be spent.
Flexible Spending Accounts: If you elect to participate in a Flexible Spending Account, check with your employer to see if they have adopted the amended “Use it or Lose it” rule. Under this amendment, employers have the option of allowing participants to carry over up to $500 of unused funds at the end of the plan year to be used any time during the following year. Also, the carryover does not prevent you from deferring the maximum funds to your FSA in the following year. This program is an alternative to the grace period that some companies offer of up to two and a half months. Many employers are adopting the carryover immediately; so up to $500 in leftover funds from the 2013 plan year can rollover to 2014.
Long Term Disability Insurance: If you are considering disability coverage, think about where you are on the spending spectrum. Do you have high discretionary/low fixed costs and could easily adjust to standard disability coverage equal to 66.7% of your income? Or do you have high fixed costs/low discretionary costs and would be strapped under standard disability coverage? It may be worthwhile to investigate whether your employer allows you to buy up your disability coverage or look at buying additional coverage outside of your employer’s plan.
Life Insurance Beneficiaries: Whether you have basic life insurance paid for by your employer or elect to go beyond this amount, make sure that you name beneficiaries to your policy. You can usually designate a primary and contingent beneficiary. A primary beneficiary is entitled to the proceeds of the policy upon your death. A contingent (or secondary) beneficiary is entitled to the policy proceeds if the primary beneficiary has predeceased you.
Take the time to make the selections that best protect you and your family!