(BPT) – Everyone’s vision for retirement is different – for some it involves trips across the globe, while for others it means relocating to a new city or picking up a new hobby. Regardless of what your retirement goals might be, preparing to achieve them financially should include a plan that anticipates both the expected and unexpected events and expenses that may arise before or after leaving the workforce.
Planning for retirement is challenging – only 46 percent of Americans feel certain that they will be able to afford the essential expenses after retirement, according to a survey by Ameriprise Financial. Breaking retirement planning down into simple steps, as shown in the new Confident Retirement(R) approach recently introduced by Ameriprise Financial, can be an easy way for those nearing – or in – retirement to begin planning. The approach takes into account four fundamental areas:
Covering essentials. The foundation of any retirement strategy, essential expenses, includes ongoing necessities such as food, housing, taxes and some medical expenses. Economic conditions may always be a little uncertain and as a result, your goal should be to fund essential expenses with sources of guaranteed or stable income (e.g. social security or a defined benefit plan, among other options).
Ensuring your lifestyle. In addition to covering the essentials, many people have lifestyle goals they want to pursue such as travelling, or learning a new skill or hobby. Developing a strategy that can help cover the expenses that come with these goals can help you feel more confident about achieving them.
Preparing for the unexpected. Unanticipated events such as a catastrophic medical event or chronic illness, supporting a family member and loss of a spouse can have a devastating impact on retirement plans and goals. Developing a plan to cover the unexpected can help you navigate these bumps on the way to your financial goals.
Leaving a legacy. After accounting for essential and anticipated lifestyle expenses, and preparing for potential unexpected expenses, create a legacy plan for any of your remaining assets. Having a plan in place for your loved ones and the causes that are important to you is a key part of planning for the future and will give you control of your assets in your golden years. It is important to recognize the possibility that as you age, your physical and mental health could decline. To help ensure that your assets are used according to your wishes, consider working with an attorney who can advise on, and prepare legal documents such as a health care directive and power of attorney. Also make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date and that you begin putting an estate plan in place.
The Confident Retirement approach uses the four principles outlined above as a framework to help advisors work with their clients toward their retirement goals. It’s never too early – or too late – to start preparing for retirement. Consider working with a financial professional to define and work toward your unique retirement goals. For more information, visit Ameriprise.com.
The Retirement Check-In survey was created by Ameriprise Financial utilizing survey responses from 1,000 employed Americans ages 50-70. All respondents have investable assets of at least $100,000 (including employer retirement plans, but not real estate) and are planning to retire at some point. The survey was commissioned by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and conducted via telephone interviews by Koski research from October 31- November 14, 2012.
Guarantee, as used in this material, depends upon the ability of the issuing entity to honor and pay the amount you may be entitled to. U.S. Government bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. Certificates of deposit are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor. Insurance and annuity products are not government-insured, and are backed only by the continued claims paying ability of the issuing company. It is possible that an issuing entity may not be financially able to meet income guarantee obligations.
Confident Retirement is not a guarantee of future financial results.
Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.