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Learning Center Experience
James Swanson, Part-Time Faculty, Kaplan University Published December 2014
is retirement planning? At its simplest, retirement planning is just that...what
will you do when you reach retirement? And what age does retirement start?
Everyone’s definition is a little bit different. One person wants to get up
each day to go fishing; another one wants to travel the country in an RV;
someone else wants to tend to a garden; some want to put their toes in the sand
and read a book; some want to start a new business after their working days are
over; while others may want to spend time with their grandkids. This is what
makes it all so very personal, powerful, important, and unique. What retirement
means to one person may differ vastly from what it means to another. However,
once we determine what we are planning for, then we can truly begin the process
of retirement planning.
planning takes careful research into numerous issues. As mentioned above, at
what age do I want to retire? What are my current assets, and what will be my
income needs? Will my assets generate enough income? How is my health, and are
my health issues (if any) covered? What about future health concerns such as
long-term care, if needed? Should I be carrying any debt into retirement,
including a balance on my home?
we become overwhelmed at the number of issues to review, let’s narrow it down
to a few key areas:
here, you can determine what your income on a monthly basis would be. Let’s
take a look at one easy example:
Bill and Susan James, a middle-class couple
living in Tucson, Arizona, age 66 and 65 respectively, are retiring by the end
of the year and are calculating the income they will be receiving during the
first year of retirement. Bill and Susan have worked for their respective
companies for the past 15 years and have participated in 401(k) plans sponsored
by their companies. They both have IRAs from previous employment and will be
rolling over the current 401(k)s to the existing IRAs.
Their home will be paid in full this month. The
total mortgage payment was $1,850. Of that, $275 was for taxes and insurance,
which they will now pay directly; $1,575 was the amount of principal and
interest that was being paid. They have no vehicle debt, credit card debt, or personal
or bank loans. They do utilize the credit card, but pay it off each month and
primarily use it for safety purchasing purposes and to accumulate “points” for
travel benefits. In addition, they keep a $15,000 savings account balance at
their local credit union for emergency purposes.
see how the numbers look for Bill and Susan:
how do we look at these numbers and compare our living situation in retirement
versus when we were working? One way to look at it is to see how much liquid
money is available for retirement as compared to when we are working. In Bill
and Susan’s situation, it looks like this:
Pre-retirement combined household income: $7,300/month
Pre-retirement expenses: $4,100/month
Post-retirement combined household income: $5,366/month
Post-retirement expenses: $2,525/month
we can see, Bill and Susan are pretty close, with the overall difference being
just $359/month. At this point, they have a choice to make. Go ahead and retire
and live with the difference, or consider working one more year to try to make
the difference closer to $0.
the real question is…what would you do? Good luck in your planning!
Swanson is a part-time faculty member with Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article
are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan
contents of this article are presented for informational purposes only and are
not to be relied upon for financial or retirement planning services.
Always check with a professional regarding any questions you may have
regarding these services.
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