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You finally made it. Youâve scrimped and saved, invested what you could, paid for a house, college and all the other things that come with making a life. Youâve made some mistakes along the way, too, but everythingâs brought youÂ here.Â Now, youâre ready to enjoy your time away from the workforce.
This is the last article in TwoCentsâs latest series, What to Know About Money at Every Age. Check out the other installments on what you should know before youâre 20, how to manage your money in your 20s and 30s, financial steps to take in your late 30s and early 40s and what to do when youâre approaching retirement in your 50s and 60s.
Hereâs how to balance all of your costs on a fixed income.
Youâve got some time on your hands now, so why not read some of the countless blogs and books about maximizing your money in retirement?
Health care will likely be one of your biggest costs in retirement, especially if you transition out of the workforce before youâre Medicare-eligible at 65. Once youâre 65, âthe federal government subsidizes about three-fourths of the cost of Medicare Part B, although youâll still pay substantial deductibles and co-payments,â CBS News reports.
CBS says because Medicare comes with those high out-of-pocket costs, you should look into supplemental insurance options, including:
- Purchase a âMedigapâ plan that pays for part or all of Medicareâs deductibles and co-payments, combined with a separate insurance plan that covers the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare Part D.
- Purchase a Medicare Advantage plan (MA) that typically integrates inpatient care, outpatient care and the cost of prescription drugs, and usually covers much of Medicareâs out-of-pocket costs.ï»ż
Using your HSA funds is another option. As noted earlier, youâre not taxed on this moneyâand you can use your HSA funds to pay your Medicare premiums.
Youâll need to purchase dental and vision insurance, which arenât covered by Medicare. On top of that, thereâs the infamous Medicare âdonut holeâ when it comes to prescriptions: Once you and your insurer have spent $3,750 on covered prescriptions (for 2018), the coverage gap begins, which could leave you on the hook for more expenses.
All of that said, some people retire before age 65âand often, earlier than they planned. To bridge the gap between employer insurance and Medicare, shop around on the individual marketplace. You might qualify for a subsidy for a policy on the Affordable Care Act exchange, depending on your income. Considerable breaks down what a difference that subsidy can make:
A couple with one spouse who is 60 and the other age 55 with $55,000 in annual household income, for example, would pay an average of $438 a month for a mid-level benefit âsilverâ plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
If they didnât qualify for a subsidy, their monthly premium would jump to $1,857. ï»ż
Alternatively, you can look into COBRA coverage. This allows you to continue benefits for 18 months after leaving your employer, but at full cost (employer plans subsidize as much as 80 percent of the cost of health care).
Monica Dwyer, an Ohio-based Certified Financial Planner, says there are three distinct phases of retirement: The early âgo-goâ years, âwhere you are doing a lot of traveling and checking things off of your bucket list.â After, youâll reach your âslow-goâ years, where youâre starting to slow down. âYou arenât jumping out of planes anymore, and the travel eases up somewhat but not completely.â Finally, thereâs your âno-goâ years, âwhere you are not able to travel and you are finding it more difficult to be active.â
You may have a separate savings or investment account set aside for your go-go years plans. Youâll need to live within your means, of course, but nowâs the time to take the trip youâve always dreamed about, remodel your home or give some money away to charity.
Youâve titled your assets appropriately, so why not look into a trust, which will also keep your assets private (unlike the probate/will route). Trusts arenât right for everyone, but Dwyer suggests creating one under a few different circumstances.
âOne would be for a child with special needs, regardless of age,â she says. âMost states have a law that says that any government assistance stops if the special needs person inherits above a certain level of wealth and that is sometimes a very small dollar amount. Instead of direct inheritance, a person can use a trust for those assets.â The trust can ensure their financial well-being.
And if youâre a wealthier individual, you might also want one if you want control over how your heirs spend your money (or at least when they can access it).
âThese are complicated and you should work with an attorney, tax specialist and financial planner to make sure that these are set up appropriately,â says Dwyer.
Overall, make sure all of your accounts are in order, no matter what your end of life plan is.
If youâre relying on two Social Security payments, the death of a spouse can be detrimental to your finances (never mind the emotional costs). Thomas Walsh, a Certified Financial Planner, says both spouses need to understand how your finances work and what to do in the event that the other passes first.
One option for making up for lost Social Security or pension payments is life insurance. If youâre past 65, it might more sense to go with a whole life insurance plan, rather than term, to save some money, per Walsh.
Additionally, âthe financially savvy spouse should routinely update the spouse less familiar with the finances,â says Walsh. âMaintain a list of all checking, savings, investment and credit card accounts that you own, as well as an estimate of each account balance.â
Both spouses should also have the login information for all financial accounts, including for online bill pay.
âKeep a file for your important documents like insurance policies, wills and powers-of-attorney,â says Walsh. âIntroduce your spouse to any of your professional advisers, including your financial adviser, tax preparer, attorney and insurance agent. These will likely be some of the first people your spouse contacts after you die, so it will be helpful if youâve already made the introduction.â
You might think youâre done investing, but if you retire at 65, you could have 20 or 30 years in retirement. That means although you should be moving to a less volatile asset mix, you shouldnât give up on equities completely.
âBeing too conservative with your investments during retirement is a mistake,â says Walsh. âIf you have all of your savings in low-yielding investments like bonds or CDs, it will be difficult to keep up with inflation.â
Walsh advises keeping a diversified mix of investments into retirement, including âU.S. large-capitalization, U.S. small-cap, international, natural resources and real estate investments.â You can easily keep doing this through mutual funds and ETFs.
CNN Money reports most people enter retirement with about 40 to 60 percent of their portfolio still in stocks. But all of this is dependent on a number of factors unique to each individual:
The mix that makes sense for you as you enter retirement will depend on a number of factors, including how comfortable you are seeing your nest eggâs value bounce around in response to market fluctuations, how likely your nest egg is to last given the size of the withdrawals you plan on taking, what other resources (Social Security, pensions, home equity, annuity income, etc.) you have to fall back on should your pot of savings start running low. ï»ż
When youâre in retirement, you might be uncomfortable with having even 40 percent still in stocks. But you shouldnât have to change up your investments too much.
âSay you plan to withdraw four percent of your total assets in the first year of retirement and to adjust the amount by the rate of inflation in the following years,â writes Kiplinger. âSuch a withdrawal rate is unlikely to deplete your savings over a 30-year retirement.â
As always, do what is right for you, but remember that decreasing your equity holdings significantly will reduce your purchasing power. Writes Real Deal Retirementâs Walter Updegrave:
For example, if you retire at 65 and prices increase by two percent a year for 20 years, you would need nearly $75,000 at age 85 to buy what $50,000 would have bought when you first retired. If inflation gets back to its long-term average of three percent, you would need upwards of $90,000.ï»ż
You canât ignore inflation.
Yes, youâll always have money worries. But youâll also have freedomâyou can do whatever you want, when you want. That could include traveling, mentoring, picking up a part-time job to keep your mind stimulated, moving to a new city, blogging, playing music, writing your memoirâthe list is endless. What will you do now that youâre retired?
That brings us to the end of our series, What to Do with Money at Every Age. I hope you found it helpful. As always, if you have money questions youâd like me to dig into, email me at [email protected], and check out the rest of the series below.