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Prepare Now for Retirement

My wife and I hiked to the top of Pusch Peak in Tucson on a beautiful day in the spring. However, I may have underestimated the length and elevation gain of the hike when I chose to not bring water along. We were having a nice time until my wife started complaining that I hadn't told her how long the trail was, and she claimed that she was thirsty and about to pass out. She tends to be dramatic about such things, but in hindsight, we were probably not well-prepared for that hike. And, she has not let me forget that to this day. My lesson learned is that preparation is key in order to be successful (and have a happy marriage). Retirement, like hiking, is something you should plan and prepare for. If retirement is on the 5-10 year horizon for you, here are some important steps to consider:

  1. Build a budget. Many people overlook the importance of budgeting, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is. Plus, I have a handy Retirement Budget Template (scroll down to Resources on my web page) you can use to make it easier.
  2. Decrease your debt. Retiring successfully will be easier with less debt. Less debt means fewer fixed expenses which will better position you to ride out any market downturns during retirement. You can prioritize paying off your debt now to achieve this goal.
  3. Be strategic with Social Security. You don't have to receive your benefits at 62, the earliest age possible for most people. If you delay your benefits, you can receive a larger monthly amount. A good source for helping in this decision is Open Social Security. In addition, at WT, we have an excellent Social Security Planning Program and I would be happy to prepare a claiming strategy analysis for you.
  4. Take control of taxes. The more you can diversify your retirement funds into different types of accounts, the more flexibility you will have in withdrawing those funds in order to minimize your taxes. For example, diversifying your investments in traditional IRA's or 401k's, Roth IRA's, and brokerage accounts makes it easier to manage the tax impact from year to year.
I encourage you to prepare for your retirement better than I prepared for that hike. I would be happy to help you with those preparations and answer any questions you have along the way.

If you would like to discuss your readiness for retirement or have any questions about investing in general, I am available to meet with you for a no-cost consultation. You can e-mail me at mhaertzen@wtwealthmanagement.com or call (520) 204-1058.

Sincerely,

Matt Haertzen
Matthew J. Haertzen


References:
"Let's See How Ready for Retirement You Really Are" by The Wall Street Journal December 16, 2018



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