Most of us are familiar with the retirement planning shortfall in America, but at the same time there are millions of Americans who do a great job preparing for their golden years. They work hard, save with discipline and do their best to stick to a plan that will allow them to achieve their financial goals.
If you are one of these retirees, congratulations! But don’t let the financial planning stop now. In fact, after you’ve entered retirement, it’s more important than ever to give your finances an annual checkup.
Here are a few specific items you might want to review in that annual post-retirement financial checkup:
1. Asset Allocation
It’s likely that, during the working years of your life, you reviewed your investments periodically and rebalanced your assets so that you had the right mix of stocks, bonds, real estate and cash for your unique financial plan. Why stop now? Make sure to take a critical look at where your assets are sitting right now and then execute whatever transactions are needed to rebalance them in a way that is consistent with your short-term needs and longer-term goals.
2. Life Expectancy
Chances are, when you created your retirement plan years ago, your financial advisor suggested an end-of-life age that you could plan toward so you could make sure you didn’t run out of money in your retirement years. Now is a good time to take an objective look at your health and perhaps consult with your physician about any medical conditions that you have to manage. You may be surprised to learn that you’re in shape to live a lot longer than you had planned. That’s great news, of course, but may require you to free up some additional cash to continue funding your retirement.
3. Home Equity
If you own the home in which you live, take a moment to assess the amount of equity tied up in that house. Is it time to consider selling the house for a profit and downsizing to a smaller home? Would it be appropriate to consider a reverse mortgage, which allows you to convert some of the equity in your home into cash? If so, perhaps some of the money raised from the sale of the house or the reverse mortgage could be reinvested into a fixed-income investment – such as an annuity or bond – that will produce immediate and ongoing income.
4. Life Insurance
Take a look at your life insurance policy and evaluate whether it’s still needed or affordable now that you’ve entered the retirement years. Many seniors are surprised to learn that their life insurance policy is their personal property and they have a right to sell it, just like any other asset in their portfolio. Some seniors decide the coverage just isn’t needed anymore because their kids are no longer dependent on Mom and Dad for money. Other seniors have seen their premiums go up in recent years and now find the policy is too costly to maintain.
If one of those scenarios hits close to home, you may want to consider selling the policy to a third-party investor for immediate cash payment, known as a life settlement transaction. Candidates for life settlements are typically aged 70 or older, with a life insurance policy that has a death benefit of more than $100,000. The sale of a policy can bring you roughly seven times more money than the cash surrender value of your policy.
Once you enter retirement, it’s more important than ever to give your finances an annual checkup. Whether you work with a trusted financial advisor or choose to manage your money by yourself, take charge of your financial plan by revisiting your investments and realigning them with your goals. This can be a crucial way to make sure that things stay on track in the golden years.