A poll was released earlier this week that found half of Americans are delaying retirement. This is due to health reasons, financial needs, and employer benefits such as health insurance. For many, they simply enjoy and are still able to do their jobs. Bob Wamhoff, President of Wamhoff Financial Planning & Accounting Services, discusses with Elliot Weiler how to evaluate the decision to retire, and when.
1. Questions to Ask When Considering Retirement:
- Do I have enough money to retire? A good rule of thumb is that you will need 75% of your pre-retirement income on an annual basis.
- How will I get health insurance? Make sure you understand your Medicare options now. Don’t wait until you are 65. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) is free, but Part B (doctor visits and services) is not, and cost $104.90 per month in 2013. Explore other supplements you may need, as well as the costs involved.
- Am I prepared if I or my spouse needs long term care? The average cost of a private nursing home in the St. Louis area is about $51,000 per year, and will continue to rise.
- Is my portfolio well diversified to help keep up with inflation? If you are heavily invested in vehicles that offer rates of return that are lower than the inflation rate, you will be digging into your principal very quickly.
- What do I expect my expenses will be when I retire? Create a realistic post-retirement budget that includes everything – fixed bills, vacations, holidays, birthdays, etc. Also be sure to include an emergency fund. Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean that you won’t run into unexpected expenses.
2. Questions to ask When Considering Postponing Retirement:
- How satisfied am I with my job? Many older Americans report being very satisfied at work. They love what they do. Check in with yourself on your job satisfaction, and how the stress of your job may be impacting your health.
- How is my overall health? Consider whether you’re in great health, or if you are concerned about your physical ability to do your job long term.
- Will I stick with my current job, or pursue a “post-retirement” career? This is also very popular as people retire and become consultants in their field, or pursue a passion.
- If I postpone retirement, will I still have time, and be in good enough health to enjoy it? Consider what you want to do in retirement. It may be traveling or volunteering for your favorite charity. If you wait too long, you may not be able to do these things.
Having a solid plan for retirement will help you make objective decisions that aren’t guided by emotion. This plan will serve as a roadmap to show where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. So regardless of WHEN you want to retire, you’ll see where you’ve been, where you are, and how much further you have to go.