Thursday, October 25, 2012

Should I Retire?

Senior Thursday

One question more and more seniors are grappling with is whether or not it is the right time to retire.  With the cost of living going up, but income not keeping pace, coupled with the stock market collapse a few years ago, the question isn’t as easy to answer as it used to be. 

Another reason it can’t be answered easily is that everyone’s situation is unique.  We all have different levels of income, varying amounts of debt, and different health concerns.  Nobody’s portfolio (if you even have one) is the same, either.  Add factors such as health and life insurance coverage, ages of your children and grandchildren, your company’s pension plan and you start to see how the answer for you will be completely different from your neighbor or brother’s answer. 

If you’ve been earning a decent pay since college graduation, have put your children through school, and they are financially secure, you’ve grown your portfolio to six times your annual income, and your health is good, you can comfortably retire at 60 or 65.  However, if you’ve been living paycheck-to-paycheck all your life, have medical bills to pay and only one year’s income invested with no company pension, then you may have to work well past 60 or 65 just to make ends meet.

Your financial advisor and accountant can best help you answer this question.  In order to arrive at the best answer, though, you should have the following information/documents together for review:

·        Previous year’s tax return

·        Current pay stubs

·        Most recent statements from investments

·        Most recent statements from bank accounts

·        Summary of monthly expenses (mortgage/rent, food, pets, transportation, utilities, etc.)

·        Summary of assets (real estate, vehicles, savings accounts, etc.)

·        Most recent Social Security Statement

·        Most recent pension statement

·        Life Insurance policies

·        Health Insurance policies

You are never too old to start planning.  But beginning early will help make your retirement years as comfortable as they can be.

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