What is Retirement Planning?
Retirement planning is the range of strategies and solutions used to achieve a lasting retirement income. The core of retirement planning depends upon saving and allocation. However, retirement planning can become a complicated process, and there are many different approaches and tools to help you accumulate retirement income. Due to longer life expectancies, inflation, and taxation, your retirement income will need to last longer.
What does Retirement Planning Involve?
While retirement planning can be thought of as a broad collection of solutions, strategies, and tools, it is a specific and specialized area of financial planning. Every consumer presents a unique set of needs and objectives for retirement. This means that an effective retirement portfolio should be custom-tailored to each individual consumer.
Generally the process of retirement planning begins with accounting for your current retirement assets, like a 401(k), IRA, etc. Your readiness to retire will be evaluated based on your ideal retirement lifestyle, your current earning power, and other assets in your possession. The ultimate goal is—of course—a sustainable and robust source of retirement income. However, the pathway to get there will vary based on your time horizon, risk tolerance, and investable assets.
Periodic review is crucial in maintaining your retirement plan. Retirement planning is not a one-time activity; rather it is an active process that will change with you, adapting to your evolving needs and goals.
Leave a Legacy
Estate planning is the process by which you detail how accumulated wealth or assets are transferred to the next generation. Without a properly drafted and structured estate plan, your assets can become entangled between your heirs or lose significant value upon transfer. While the core principle of estate planning—designating beneficiaries—is fairly simple, an estate plan often includes more complex factors. Even a direct transfer to an heir may require detailed structuring and legal documentation.
You may think that estate planning is only for high net-worth individuals; however, estate planning is an important consideration for anyone that has assets they wish to pass on to the next generation.
Why is Estate Planning Important?
The current estate tax and gift tax exemption is $5.45 million for individuals, meaning that IRS estate taxes only apply to assets in excess of this amount. However, individuals with estates below the IRS threshold—the majority of estates—should still think about the impact taxation can have on transfers to heirs, because beneficiaries may be subject to ordinary income tax on the assets they receive.
There is a variety of strategies that aim to minimize the tax burden on beneficiaries and maximize capital transfer. Depending on your goals and asset types, you may wish to consider annuities, life insurance, trusts, and other mechanisms to protect the value of your estate. In some cases an estate planning solution may reap benefits for you while you are alive. As with other aspects of financial planning, what will work for you is tied to your specific situation. A good estate plan should function in concert with your overall financial and retirement objectives, hence it is crucial to consult with a financial professional that can account for the full spectrum of your financial life.