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Sacramento Boomer

Your Retirement FAQs Answered

We all have FAQs regarding the next phase of life, so why not go right to the folks responsible for answering those questions? Here’s what our expert panel had to say. 

Q: How can I be sure I’m ready to retire?

A: Before you exit your employer’s door for the last time, you’ll want to feel confident you’re as prepared for retirement as possible. Ask your Financial Advisor how he or she can help increase your confidence in your retirement preparation strategy.

Determine your retirement income need

Review your asset allocation (investment mix)

Review your employer stock-based benefits

Review pension distribution options

Determine your expected Social Security

—Christeen Reeg, Partner/Wealth Manager at Pacific Investment Consultants

Q: [As a wife] do I have enough money after my spouse has passed?

A: This is where a qualified, professional planner can really help. The answer depends heavily on your individual situation—lifestyle, general health, goals, plans, family obligations, and other matters.

If you have health challenges that dictate higher medical expenses, that’s a factor.

If you plan to stay in the big house you raised your children in, your maintenance and tax expenses are going to be higher than if you downsize. 

If you plan to travel, those costs have to be taken into account.

If you have adult children, who require special care, that requires planning. 

The other important questions here involve the spouse’s current income and assets. Do/did they have IRAs, 401Ks, or another retirement/pension plan(s)? Did they operate a business that will need to be sold or restructured? What about life insurance proceeds? 

The first step toward taking control is always to gather as much information as possible on which to build a sustainable plan for going forward.

—Kimberly Foss, CFP, CWP, President/Founder of Empyrion Wealth Management and NYT best-selling author of Wealthy By Design: A 5-Step Plan for Financial Security

Q: When are we going to hit the next recession? And how will we handle an economic downturn when we are in retirement?

A: Having a well-thought-out financial plan for retirement should include contingencies. Some of the key contingencies to consider are how we should respond to a recession, inflation, higher taxes, or a major financial event such as death, long-term care or health crisis. Some clients are willing to adjust their lifestyle to match economic conditions. They’ll cut down when economic conditions take a downturn and spend more freely in good years. For those who don’t like that uncertainty, I like to position clients so they have a spending reserve that is not subject to market conditions. In the “good years,” if a portfolio is above its target return, we may shave off some the unexpected gains out so that in the years that there is a loss, the clients can maintain their lifestyle, investment strategy, and sanity.

—Dianna K. Laney, ChFC, CRPC, Managing Partner at Ideal Life Financial Advisors

Q: How can I figure out how long my money will last and how much of it to spend?

A: Create a family cash flow sheet. This should include factors like:

Will you be purchasing new cars or prefer keeping/driving preowned?

Do you plan to travel or do you prefer to stay local and garden, golf, etc.?

Home downsizing? Or do you plan to remain in your current home/mortgage?

A simplified example of that would be:

Client A owns (or rents) in the Bay Area, likes new cars, and travel—may need $2 million to retire to facilitate their continued lifestyle.

Client B lives in El Dorado Hills, home is paid for, and prefers not to travel—can live comfortably on $400k for the rest of their lives.

You should suss out your need and expenses, and also become aware of other potential pitfalls you might not have thought about.

—Chris Wilczewski, AAMS, CRPS, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones

Thank you to our contributors:

Christeen Reeg, Partner/Wealth Manager at Pacific Investment Consultants, 916-932-0151,

Kimberly Foss, CFP, CWP, President/Founder of Empyrion Wealth Management, 916-786-7626,

Dianna K. Laney ChFC, CRPC Managing Partner at Ideal Life Financial Advisors, 916-983-1160,

Chris Wilczewski, AAMS, CRPS, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, 916-260-5996, [email protected]