Prudent financial planning has never been more important than it is now. In our recent Integrated Advisory video series, WealthCo President, Sophie Blais, takes us through the key elements of financial planning. We’ve included a synopsis below.
“When can I retire?”
This is often the first question in a planning conversation. My response back is always, “what does retirement look like to you and what is it that you want to achieve in retirement?” This helps us to then dive into a fulsome conversation about retirement.
Everyone’s Retirement Looks a Bit Different
Retirement should be on your own terms and it should look the way that you want it to look. For many people, retirement is just a change. It might be moving towards part-time work. It might involve doing philanthropic work. It’s important to have these discussions with your integrated planning team and your trusted advisors, as they can best help you to navigate your retirement decisions.
There are a couple of different stages that normally occur in retirement that are important to take into consideration. There is the first stage, that euphoric stage where people are checking off their bucket list items, doing a lot of travel, maybe buying a cabin or cottage or trailer.
Health has a big impact on retirement, and this second stage may evolve based on health factors - not only your individual health, but potentially the health of older parents, especially if they require financial support. For many individuals there might be a transition to assisted living or into a long-term care facility so considering how this will impact your financial plan and the bottom line is really important.
As you are approaching retirement, it’s critical that you're having conversations with your spouse, if you have one, to make sure you're both on the same page
Retirement is Budgeting 101
When you look at statistics, a lot of people that retire actually end up back in the workforce within 24 months. Which certainly was not in their plan.
Consider what assets do you have available to fund your retirement – that could be investments or a pension or savings or perhaps you plan to downsize your home. One area to be cautious around planning for is inheritance - I always caution clients that inheritances are not predictable and they can create a false sense of security.
If we look at expenses in retirement there are a few things to consider. One is mortgage - if you have a mortgage going into retirement recognize that it is a substantial expense. Normally I recommend having your mortgage paid off or have a really strong plan around how you will manage those mortgage payments within your retirement plan.
The second is spending habits. People often assume that they'll spend less during retirement, however studies have shown that they actually tend to spend more. Bucket list trips, vacations, special events, health care expenses – these can all make a huge dent in your retirement budget.
It’s also important to plan for what happens in the event that one spouse outlives the other spouse by a significant period of time, will the surviving spouse have enough income to live their retirement? It’s important for couples to make sure that there's enough resources in place to take care of the surviving spouse.
Business Owners That Are Looking to Retire
Business owners who are looking ahead to retirement need to consider their succession planning strategy. That could include bringing in a family member to take over the business or a key employee - or a group of key employees - may be interested in buying the business. There are several ways to approach this exit, but first and foremost is to look at income sources and what anticipated expenses will be.
Planning for retirement should start early on and needs to consider how the business owner wants to retire. Retirement planning conversations with your Integrated Planning team should touch on the tax implications of transitioning or gifting shares to family versus selling it to family or to an outside person. It’s also important to give thought to how active the business owner wants to remain in the organization, post-retirement.
Remember the Freedom 55 tagline from many years ago? Some people will retire at age 55, others feel that 65 is a more appropriate retirement age. The reality is that there is no one magic number and that retirement is unique to you and your personal situation. By working with the right team, you'll be able to design a retirement plan that'll suit your lifestyle. Whether that means staying close to home and working in your garden or hiking or going on worldwide adventures, with proper planning you’ll build the retirement plan that is right for you.
The Integrated Advisory Community consists of a network of progressive CPA firms, along with best-in-class professional advisors, service, and product specialists, who work together to deliver an elevated and holistic client experience. One that optimizes both their personal and professional lives with an integrated financial strategy designed to help clients reach their goals. Reach out to your Integrated Advisory accountant if you have any questions or want to have a deeper conversation about your financial plan.