Getting close to retirement
After years of saving and investing, you are finally getting ready to enjoy the benefit of your planning and hard work. But there are still decisions that need to be made, including the following:
- Update the retirement income needs estimate you may have projected long ago. Is it still accurate?
- Identify all of your potential income sources, including Social Security, pensions, and personal investments. How many do you have?
- Review your asset allocation -- how you divide your portfolio among stocks, bonds, and cash. Is it still suitable?
Once you've assessed your needs and income sources, it's time to make a plan to withdraw the assets you’ve built up.
- First, determine a prudent withdrawal rate. A common approach is to liquidate 5% of your principal each year of retirement; however, your income needs may differ.
- Next, you'll need to decide when to tap into tax-deferred and taxable investments. The advantage of holding on to tax-deferred investments (employer-sponsored retirement plan assets, IRAs, and annuities) is that they compound on a before-tax basis and therefore have greater earning potential than their taxable counterparts.
Be sure to consult a qualified financial professional, a tax advisor, and an estate-planning attorney to make sure that you're prepared for this new -- and exciting -- stage of your life.