So much about retirement planning is about making smart money decisions to get you to the time when you’ll retire. But what about managing your money after you retire? The latest Friends Talk Money podcast episode, which you can hear wherever you get podcasts or at the end of this article, has some advice on just that.
Full disclosure: I’m one of the “Friends” hosting the podcast and am joined by personal finance syndicated columnist and author Terry Savage and the public television host and creator of the financial adviser vetting website, Pam Krueger.
Financial Planning in Retirement
“After you stop working is where the real financial planning begins,” Krueger notes. “Many of the big decisions you’re going to make are much less about which stocks and bonds to buy and a lot more about getting the decisions you need to make timed right.”
Many people feel like they’re flying blind managing their money in retirement because now they’re responsible for making decisions.
Decisions like: When should I start claiming Social Security? How much should I withdraw from my retirement funds this year? Is this the time to downsize and move to a smaller, more affordable home with fewer stairs and less maintenance?
As I note in the podcast, many people feel like they’re flying blind managing their money in retirement because now they’re responsible for making decisions. While they were working, they might have had some of their paychecks or bank accounts automatically moved into retirement accounts regularly.
This is why Savage says it can be helpful to hire a financial adviser to help you make smart money moves in retirement, especially regarding investing and retirement portfolio withdrawals.
2 Financial Goals at Retirement
Krueger says there are two main financial goals at retirement: Protecting your money so you don’t lose it and being accurate about your forecasts for your retirement spending and retirement income.
Jason Lilly, a retirement planning expert in Cape Cod, Mass., says on the podcast: “You need to know exactly what money is coming in and tracking exactly what’s going out.” If you don’t, when unexpected expenses come up, you might have trouble dealing with them.
Retirement can be an opportune time to look for ways to reduce your spending. The popular Next Avenue story, “Retiring on a Shoestring,” showed how one couple did it when they moved in retirement from a New York City suburb to Florida.
The Need to Be Cautious
Travis Iles, the Texas securities commissioner, says that once you retire, you need to be especially cautious about financial “advisers” making unrealistic investment promises of super-high returns with no downside risk.
“My father’s in his late sixties and I receive a lot of his mail,” Iles says. “It’s astounding to me the financial products folks are trying to sell him.” Often, Iles notes, his dad is being offered a “free” dinner to learn about an investment to purchase.
Says Iles: “Those kinds of tactics are a good reminder to hit the pause button and ask yourself: How can the financial adviser or planner afford to market and incur these sorts of expenses? The answer, in many cases, is only if the fees and other expenses associated with the product are quite high.”
Be careful too, Iles warns, about companies urging you to pull your money out of the stock market and put it into gold or other precious metals. He’s heard of people with $1 million retirement accounts who instantly have just $700,000 after purchasing the metals due to the high purchase fees.
By Richard Eisenberg
Richard Eisenberg is the Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue and Managing Editor for the site. He is the author of How to Avoid a Mid-Life Financial Crisis and has been a personal finance editor at Money, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and CBS MoneyWatch. Follow him on Twitter.