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What are the basics of retirement success?

February 9, 2013

Advisor answers

Jeffrey Stoffer

Jeffrey Stoffer

CFA, CFP®
San Rafael, CA

Planning, prioritizing and persistence

Planning

Planning for the future can seem abstract, almost like fantasizing. Visualizing what retirement looks like for you is an important but often overlooked step. In addition to answering the questions, “When can I retire?” and, “Will I have enough money?” planning includes defining specific goals – what do you need and want in retirement? Make it real.

Tracking expenses is a must, both to understand your basic needs and to make sure your money is spent where it matters most. Balancing want...

James Dowd

James Dowd

CPA, CFA
San Francisco, CA

I have developed a mnemonic that we use to explain the planning and investment process to our clients ---- PRIM for Planning, Research and Recommendations, Implementation, and Monitoring.

Planning is the critical first step, since every person's financial needs and goals, both while working and in retirement, are different. By identifying and crystalizing your objectives, you will have a much higher likelihood of developing a strategy to achieve them.

Research and recommendations follow from the planning process....

Jonathan DeYoe

Jonathan DeYoe

CPWA, AIF®
Berkeley, CA

The most important retirement planning task is calculating where your income comes from when you retire. This probably seems completely obvious, but it usually isn’t. Your portfolio needs to yield more every year to keep up with inflation.

Inflation is the silent retirement killer. Your income needs to increase every year just to keep up with the rising cost of living. For example, look at how much medical care services costs increase, last year rising 3.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So it is not enough to look at yo...

John Buerger

John Buerger

MSFS, CFP®
San Luis Obispo, CA

Principles of Retirement Success:

--- Live within your means (before your retirement and after).

--- Be Intentional - Do whatever you have to do in order to get where you want to be in life: tomorrow, next week, next year and in retirement.

--- Get a GPS - There are many variables and conditions that you are probably not aware of in the personal finance landscape. As you move down the road to your retirement dreams, things will change adding even more variables.

For that last bit (the GPS), I do strongly suggest you get a third-party prof...

Nick Rugh

Nick Rugh

CRPC
Palo Alto, CA

For a successful retirement there are a few primary ingredients.

The first is to save more than you spend. The earlier you start saving the better. Time is a very powerful tool for building wealth. The first day of your first job you should start saving money for your retirement.

The next ingredient is to make your money grow while you are saving. This is a more difficult task. You need to be sure that you have a plan and avoid making big mistakes. If you are not comfortable with making...

Ira Fateman

Ira Fateman

CFP®
San Francisco, CA

A successful retirement means more than making sure you will not outlive your funds. Other issues include a psychological transition stage from work to leisure. It is important to formulate how you will spend your free time. Health issues need to be considered as well as health expenses. Retirement like many other phases of life has a developmental aspect that it helps to be aware of. Decisions in regard to where to live, how to pay for potential health and long term care expenses, estate planning issues ...

George Sugden

George Sugden

CFP®
Denver, CO

The first step towards a successful retirement is starting with a financial plan. A financial plan will not only help guide investment decisions but also will help with the one of biggest risks to a successful retirement, investor behavior. Investing can be very emotional, especially with one's retirement nest egg.

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Guy Baker

Guy Baker

CLU, AEP, ChFC, CFP®
Irvine, CA

There is only ONE basic in my mind - create an income you cannot outlive.

To do that, you have to be very judicious in your investment planning and budgeting.

So assess your income needs now and in the future.

Assess your investments and income sources. Determine what type of an investment return you are going to need to hit your target.

If you have a shortfall, then you may have to work longer or supplement your retirement income with a job.

Look for methods of guaranteeing your income now and in the future.

This can be a very ...

Jim Lorenzen

Jim Lorenzen

AIF®, CFP®
Simi Valley, CA

Since this is a financial forum, I take it your question isn't about philosophy, but actually meeting your financial goals. It's not rocket science. The answer is simple, but not simplistic:

There are three factors involved:

  • How much you invest
  • The return your investments achieve
  • How long you invest - the time factor.

How much: You have some control here; it can move up or down.

The return: You have less to little control here; it can move up or down.

Time: The one factor that ONLY goes DOWN.

Important p...

Lauren Klein

Lauren Klein

CRPC, CFP®
Lakeville, MN

I have found two things to be important in retirement success-

1. Figure out what you want to do with your time once you retire. Too many people focus solely on money when planning for retirement. The reality of it is you need to know how to budget things into your retirement plan to make sure you not only safe guard everything you have saved but more importantly commit to truly enjoying a fulfilling life after retirement.

2. Work with an advisor to create an income stage plan and commit to updating it annually. I crea...

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