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Questions to Retire By


In the recent “Great Recession” more and more Baby Boomers were found to be delaying retirement in order to hold onto few and far-between jobs and hold tight to their incomes. But even in tough economic times some are weighing the pros and cons of calling it a day…and a career.

To help those close to retirement figure out whether now is the time in both age and budget, The Chicago Tribune has put together a list of questions to determine your next best steps. Answer affirmatively, retire away; but if most of the answers are “no,” consider taking a bit more time to firm up your finances and plan for a future unfettered with economic worry and woes—one way or another.

Focus on the following:

If you were to withdraw 4 percent of your retirement portfolio,
would it equal half your annual pay?

If it doesn’t, then maybe you should consider holding off on retirement. Put another way, if you have not saved 12.5 times your current annual salary you might not have enough to live on for the long retirement run. As a rule of thumb you should try to live on 75 percent of your current salary when you retire, with 50 percent coming from your savings and 25 percent from Social Security. If you know you don’t have it now, even for basic expenses, consider waiting.

Have you discussed your retirement with your children and partner?
Kids today…from college-age to middle age, are also struggling, putting aging parents in a precarious position to aid their offspring at, quite literally, their own expense. So, if your children might be relying on your financial help (or vice versa), let them know your retirement plans now. The same is true with your husband, wife or partner. You want the whole family on the same financial page before you turn it.

Have you calculated basic, occasional and catastrophic costs?
While it might be easy to account for basic costs of retirement, the need for a new vehicle, water heater, or a catastrophic medical bill could be right around the corner. Budget for more than the basics to figure out whether your retirement money is for better…and for worse.

Do you understand where your retirement income comes from?
Understanding the risks related to investments for retirement is a crucial part of keeping that cash in your coffers for the long run. Even if you have a financial planner, get acquainted with your retirement accounts so your money can continue working for you…even when you have stopped working for it.

Have you figured how to avoid withdrawal penalties?
As the Chicago Tribune puts it, “If you retire or lose a job in your 50s, it may make sense to leave your 401(k) plan with your employer instead of rolling it into an IRA, because company plans in general allow penalty-free withdrawals at age 55, more than four years earlier than an IRA.” Keep that in mind if your retirement is “forced,” or otherwise earlier than you expected.

Do you have means for health insurance?
While this may be a no-brainer, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself fully after decades of employer-subsidized care.

Does your plan reflect your true life expectancy?
No one knows what the future brings. You may have budgeted for a medical emergency, but have you accounted for a long, healthy life? According to the Tribune article, retirees tend to underestimate how long they will live. Don’t be one of those people.

Do you have a back-up plan?
The Chicago Tribune also suggests keeping your options open. And in this tough economy, one of those options to keep retirement accounts intact, and creditors at bay, is bankruptcy. Avoid tapping into retirement to stay afloat. If you’re an older American who’s considering new ways out from underneath ever-increasing debt, and get back on track, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you to conquer your creditors and face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost. The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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