Many Americans above the age of 55 are wondering the same thing – ‘Am I going to be in a good enough position financially to retire when I am ready?’ It’s a tough question with big implications. Mabrey Bank’s experts are here to help you make sure that your answer is an emphatic “Yes.”
We chatted with Rhonda Bailey, Private Banking Officer, SVP, to get her 5 best tips to prepare for retirement. Rhonda has built successful banking career over more than 25 years and has earned the respect and trust of her customers through her financial wisdom and care for their well-being.
(Portions of this article initially appeared in TulsaPeople’s November 2023 issue. We appreciate TulsaPeople editor Anne Brockman for thinking of Mabrey Bank for this piece and using our banking experts like Rhonda Bailey as a resource for strong financial advice.)
1) Meet Regularly with Your Financial Advisor
Setting up regular appointments with your financial advisor, especially as you near retirement age, is the number one thing you can do to prepare for retirement. Even if you have been planning, saving and investing wisely throughout your career, a trusted financial advisor will be able to expertly provide data, project market trends and offer wise financial council as you wind down your career.
I have been meeting with a financial advisor throughout my career and even now I ask him, ‘Am I good?’ and ‘Do I have enough?’ Being able to talk through my gameplan for retirement with an expert has not only provided me peace of mind, but also given me confidence that I will be able to thrive throughout retirement.
If you haven’t met with a financial advisor, don’t worry! It’s not too late. Shoot us a call or come by any Mabrey Bank location, and our financial experts would be more than happy to recommend an advisor you can trust.
2) Compile Your Retirement Resources
There will be several core pillars that a successful retirement will be built on. Some, you may have spent your whole career building: a 401(k) retirement plan along with any employer contributions, investments in the stock market, real estate or other areas of business, or possibly a pension given for your years of hard work. Other core pillars will be made available once you hit a certain age: Social Security at age 62 and likely Medicare at age 65, although alternative insurance options are available.
Ensuring you have as many resources as possible at your disposal is critical to maximizing your retirement.
While you are compiling your resources for your post-career life, one important item that should not be overlooked is determining where your resources should go after you are gone. Setting up a will or a trust and establishing your beneficiaries while you are of sound body and mind is a step you won’t want to miss.
3) Determine a Monthly Budget
Once you hit the age of retirement, you have already passed many of life’s big financial hurdles – home purchases, children’s weddings and college expenses, etc. Congrats! Now it’s time to plan how much you will have to enjoy your golden years.
Once you have compiled your resources, determining a monthly budget of both planned and unplanned expenses will set an expectation for your future. Housing costs, monthly bills, subscriptions, memberships, vacations, even treating your grandkids are all items that you can plan for on a month-to-month basis. Don’t forget about those surprise costs that come up, however! Set some extra money aside for home and car repairs, medical costs and unexpected family support.
This is where a financial advisor will come in handy to help you determine the right amount to place in each budget given your resources.
4) Test Your Budget
While it’s smart to have a retirement budget, it’s even better to see that budget in action before it becomes your day-to-day reality. Live off your retirement budget for three months while you are still working as a trial run. Stick to the numbers you and your financial advisor have prepared. This will help you recognize any necessary tweaks or changes necessary before you draw from your retirement resources.
5) Stay Active, Sharp and Vigilant
Lastly, it’s important to remember to enjoy retirement! You have worked hard and lived diligently for decades to prepare for this time in your life.
Ensure you are staying active and mobile as you close in on retirement so you will be able to play with your grandkids, travel comfortably and fully maximize each day. Keep your memory and wits as sharp as you can and develop hobbies now that can keep you energized and entertained when you have more time to enjoy them in retirement.
Stay vigilant that you are not being taken advantage of. Fraud is rampant and elderly individuals are often targets. Surround yourself with people you trust and be wary of those who may not have your best interest at heart.
Retirement can be the most satisfying and fulfilling years of your life. Take steps now so you can enjoy them to the fullest.