See if you can relate to this … You have contributed to a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored account at work, maybe you’re paying extra on the mortgage or have already paid it off, you keep cash on hand for those unexpected expenses or upcoming big-ticket purchases and you often wish there was a way to pay less in taxes.
You have worked for 30 or 40 years and are at or approaching Social Security eligibility and are now looking at when to take Social Security to maximize your benefits.
Sound familiar? Now, here’s what often comes next … You look at the account statements and begin to wonder whether the investments you have are the right ones to own for where you are in life. You begin weighing your options for making withdrawals from your retirement accounts. You aren’t sure exactly how this is done, and you’re nervous about the risk of a stock market pullback and the possibility of running out of money.
And then it happens, you begin searching the internet for answers. (That may even be how you ended up here!) After a lot of searching and reading you realize that there are just too many opinions to choose from, and you resort to simply eliminating options that you’re not as familiar with or have heard negative things about. Then you take what’s left and try to put together a coherent strategy while continuing a search to find information that supports what you have contrived.
This is an all-too-common situation. Maybe this is exactly where you are or perhaps it describes something similar, but either way, you wouldn’t be reading this far into the article without some truth to what I am describing.
Regardless of the details, what you do next is critical to your long-term success. The decisions you make will determine the trajectory of your financial future, and it’s imperative to have a good plan to follow.
What to Do and How to Know When You Can Retire
There is a lot to this if done correctly, and at some point you’re probably going to want some professional help, but there are a few things you can do to get moving in the right direction.
Calculate Your Income Need
Before you jump in and begin picking from the assorted list of investments that you found on the internet or that a broker recommended, you should understand that this is the very last step in the process. You would be well advised to set all of that aside for now and begin with your income needs. You cannot sidestep this, because you have …….