Welcome to your 60s – the time in your life when retirement is less a far-off dream and more an immediate reality. Immediacy is a decision that’s completely up to you. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), in 2021 39% of all workers expect to retire at age 66 or older. As you enter your 60s, what shapes your retirement decision? What constitutes a strategic retirement plan? Here are four things to consider.
WHAT’S THE RIGHT SIZE FOR MY LIFE?
Retirement means living on a fixed income. Learning to live within those means is essential. Consider down-sizing to a smaller home to reduce expenses and maintenance costs. Drive your current vehicle longer than you ordinarily would and resist the temptation to sink large sums of cash into a luxury vehicle. Finding everyday ways to save, such as eating out less, can extend your savings over many more years. The right size life also applies to the community you call home. Many in their 60s include relocating in their retirement plans. Moving from an expensive metropolitan city to a smaller community can help reduce housing and cost of living expenses.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I SAVE?
According to EBRI’s 2021 Retirement Confidence Survey, only 50% of workers aged 55+ have tried to calculate how much money they’ll need to save for retirement. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s awfully difficult to chart a course to get there. The simple act of planning increases your success in reaching your retirement savings target. Most experts agree that you’ll need approximately 70-80% of your pre-retirement income to enjoy the same lifestyle throughout retirement as you do now. This figure – your replacement ratio – is comprised of your household income, investment income and financial assets. Social Security will generally comprise 40% of your replacement ratio; now’s the time to finalize how you’ll come up with the rest.
WHEN SHOULD I DRAW SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS?
Eligibility for Social Security kicks in at age 62, although you’ll need to reach your full retirement age to qualify for your complete benefit. Drawing benefits early should be a calculated choice. Assuming a full retirement age of 67 with a $1,000 monthly benefit, drawing at age 62 (prior to full retirement age) reduces your monthly benefit by 30% to only $700. A $500 spouse’s benefit would be reduced 35% to $325. Those with short life expectancies, or little to no retirement savings, may make the decision to draw earlier. In general, the longer you can wait to draw benefits, the greater your monthly benefit will be.
SHOULD I WORK?
Working for pay in retirement is an idea that has grown in popularity in recent years. According to EBRI’s recent study, 72% of current workers plan to work for pay in retirement. The reasons for doing so vary. Many (88%) do so to stay active and involved. Others (78%) enjoy working or a had a job opportunity come along (51%). Yet financial concerns play a role, too. Some want money for the extras (68%). Others want to avoid reducing their savings (60%) or need funds to make ends meet (39%). Certainly, working beyond your full retirement age allows you to increase your income and your level of retirement savings. Working in a part time role or in a new industry can allow you to delay the first instance where you’ll dip into your retirement savings.
As you enter your 60s, your financial situation will be top of mind as you prepare for retirement. However, it’s just as important to plan for how retirement will impact your health, your emotional well-being and your relationships with those around you. When you invest as much time in qualitative planning as the quantitative type, you’re setting yourself up for retirement success.
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