Retirement is not just something that happens late in life. It’s something that you create now with the decisions you make every day. From choosing investments to protecting yourself and your family from risk, you make financial decisions that may help enrich your life not only in retirement, but each step along the way.
When you’re in your fifties, chances are you’re thinking more and more about retirement. As you get closer, it's a good idea to assess your progress and review your goals.
Put your retirement in focus
In your fifties, you may have a better feel for how you will spend your time in retirement and may even have a date in mind when you'd like to retire, or start phasing into retirement.
Have your goals or expectations for retirement changed? Before you can make sure you have saved enough to create the income you will need in retirement, you need a clear picture of where you're headed. This is a great time to meet with a Wells Fargo Retirement Professional to see if you're on track to reaching your goals.
Make the most of your retirement investments
Just as you see your doctor or dentist every year for checkups, it's also a good idea to review your retirement savings each year. It's important to fine-tune your investment strategy to make sure you're still on track to meet your goals.
By this time, you may also have retirement accounts with several former employers that you can roll over into an IRA at Wells Fargo to make it easier to manage your savings and have more control over your investments.
Please keep in mind that rolling over assets to an IRA is just one of multiple options for your retirement plan. Each of the following options are different and may have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
- Roll Assets to an IRA
- Leave assets in your former employer's plan, if plan allows.
- Move assets to your new/existing employer's plan, if plan allows
- Cash out or take a lump sum distribution
When considering rolling over assets from an employer plan to an IRA, factors that should be considered and compared between the employer plan and the IRA include fees and expenses, services offered, investment options, when penalty free withdrawals are available, treatment of employer stock, when required minimum distributions begin and protection of assets from creditors and bankruptcy. Investing and maintaining assets in an IRA will generally involve higher costs than those associated with employer-sponsored retirement plans. You should consult with the plan administrator and a professional tax advisor before making any decisions regarding your retirement assets.
Boost your retirement savings
You may want to increase the amount you're saving in tax-advantaged retirement plans or save even more by going beyond workplace plans. If you're behind in your savings goal, take a look at catch-up strategies.
Manage your debt with retirement in mind
Start mapping out your income and expenses, creating a comfortable balance that leaves you the flexibility to enjoy life with only the amount of debt you truly need. Consider becoming debt-free by retirement.
- Consider the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage before you retire. Doing so may eliminate a major monthly expense, but you need to balance that against any tax benefit you might be giving up.
- Effective use of debit and credit cards can help you monitor your expenses.
- Before you borrow, carefully analyze the impact any major purchases may have on your cash flow.
- Look over your outstanding debt where you are paying higher interest, like credit cards, to determine if a consolidation loan may make sense for your situation.
Protect your retirement income — and legacy
Insurance can become a valuable income and estate planning tool as you approach retirement, and it typically costs much less to buy in your fifties than in your sixties. Learn ways insurance can work for you.
- Life insurance can help replace pension or Social Security income in the event you outlive your partner or spouse.
- If you have specific legacy goals or are concerned about estate taxes, life insurance can be used to create an inheritance or help meet estate tax obligations.
- Consider helping protect your future retirement income through products such as annuities.
- Look into long-term-care insurance, which can help meet expenses that could deplete your estate in the case of an extended illness.
- Review and ensure your beneficiary designations are up-to-date.
Get serious about how you’ll create income in retirement
If you are five to 10 years from retirement, create a plan for how you will generate a reliable income stream from your accumulated assets and other sources.
At this point, you will need to be detailed about the expenses you will need to cover and how and when you will withdraw money from your various sources of income. It is a great way to check that your savings plan and desired retirement date are aligned with your retirement plans and associated expenses. Learn more about earning income in retirement.
By staying on track financially as you get closer to retirement, you are better prepared to create the future you want. We are here to help you take the steps that are right for you. To get started, contact a Wells Fargo Retirement Professional today, and watch our video: Acting on my dreams.