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Yes, You Can Manage Your Own Retirement!

Author: Jacob Taylor

Even though the market is saturated with financial professionals who are willing to, for a fee of course, help you navigate your way through retirement, using an adviser is not the only option available. For those who do not trust, cannot afford or otherwise would prefer not to use a financial adviser, managing your own retirement is completely possible. You just have to be willing to map out and follow a deliberate plan. The challenge is twofold: you need to know how far away you are from retirement, if you are not there already, and you need to know how much money you want to live off of in retirement.

Planning Before Retirement

If you are serious about taking retirement into your own hands, develop one simple habit that serves you for life: pay yourself first. Invest in your future financial flexibility. Figure out a weekly or monthly budget and make sure to devote money to your retirement. The biggest battle for financial health is watching inflows and outflows.

Next, take advantage of free information. There is a wealth of valuable information online about how much to save, how to match with your employers 401(k), how to avoid fees and commissions when investing and much more.

Picking Investments

You need to put money into investments that generate interest, pay dividends or can be sold later for a profit. You have to be able to beat inflation with your savings, and inflation is not going to stop when you retire.

Take the time to find the right investments. Stocks are relatively risky but historically can generate the highest returns. Mutual funds offer a lot of diversification in a portfolio and should probably be a mainstay for any typical investor. As you get older and want to make sure your money is more secure, switch to bonds and certificates of deposit, or CDs. The right portfolio is different for every investor, but follow these general rules. Robo-advisers can automatically adjust your portfolio based on parameters you set.

Things to Consider After You Retire

Deciding how to manage your own finances and investments in retirement may seem daunting, but it boils down to a simple process. First, take the time to identify what you and your family need to live comfortably in retirement. Second, add up what funds you have and how/when you can access them. Lastly, decide what you want to do with those funds within the context of your needs.

If you do not have a plan for long-term care, or LTC, take the time to create one. You can buy long-term care insurance, which typically runs between $1,764 and $3,446 per year for modest to above-average benefits. Low-income households can rely on long-term care help from the government program Medicaid.

Make sure you understand your Social Security benefits and, if applicable, the Social Security benefits of your spouse. Married couples do not get to keep joint benefits if one member passes away; make sure your plan leaves a safety net for any surviving party.

Many retirees want to travel, spend time with family and enjoy a life after work. If you fall into this category, understand how much your retirement plans are going to cost.

Taking Stock of Your Finances

Most retirees have two or three forms of income. The first is Social Security, the benefits for which you can determine by visiting the Social Security website or calling a representative. Retirees also rely on employer pensions, such as 401(k) plans.

You may also have other investments, such as annuities, mutual funds or CDs. These can be excellent s of income in retirement, but make sure you know when and how to withdraw money from them; do not pay any unnecessary withdrawal fees.

Draw down from your savings deliberately. Figure out how much you are going to need every month and keep the rest in secure accounts that keep growing in value. If you own your home outright, perhaps even consider a reverse mortgage.

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