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Retirement Planning

For many, retirement planning is daunting. It can be an overwhelming process to figure out how much money you need to live the lifestyle you'd like to enjoy after retirement. There are many factors to consider, and the stakes are high. For this reason, it's better to take things one step at a time and work with experienced professionals who know the best ways to achieve your goals.

If you want to retire early and comfortably, follow these important tips:

<b>Identify Your Expected Expenses in Retirement</b>

Identify Your Expected Expenses in Retirement

When you're retired, expenses can be very different than your current situation. After all, that's why you're retiring: to relax and enjoy life. Make sure to plan for your expected lifestyle too. Think about the things you want to include in your retirement finances, like how much living space you want, the type of medical insurance you'll need and travel costs. Understand what's realistic for you so your planned income is enough to cover your expenses.

Working with a financial professional can help assess your lifestyle and give advice on how much you should expect to spend during your early retirement years.

<b>Identify Your Income</b>

Identify Your Income

Your financial security needs will change as you age, and income sources that may be secondary now could wind up being your primary source of income after you retire.

There are different kinds of income to consider as well: guaranteed and variable.  Social Security and pensions are the most common guaranteed sources of income. Other sources of income families use to fall back on are considered variable. These include Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k) and 403(b) plans, and brokerage accounts. Let's take a closer look at how they work.

Social Security

For most families, Social Security is the major guaranteed income source that supplements retirement.  However, there are many decisions to be made around claiming benefits.  When you start taking social security can influence your lifestyle throughout retirement. 

A Social Security analysis can help maximize your income throughout retirement by displaying the impact choices have at different points in retirement. Given that Social Security benefits are based on family income, there are many moving parts to consider.  Questions that an analysis can help answer are:

<b>Social Security</b>
  • What impact does claiming benefits before my full retirement age have?
  • When should my spouse claim benefits?
  • Should I claim spousal benefits or my own benefits?
  • If I claim benefits later, what age will I break even?
  • Should I claim benefits from an ex-spouse?
  • How much of my Social Security is taxed?
  • How does longevity affect when I should claim benefits?
  • How does my investment allocation affect when I should claim?

A full analysis can help clients understand various breakeven points around different decisions.  Remember that once a choice is made for Social Security benefits, that selection is locked in for life.



Pensions are not as common as they once used to be, but still can make up a significant portion of a retirees income.  It is important to remember that most pensions are backed by companies, so funding levels can vary across plans.  While seeming simple on the surface, there are still many variables that can create very different results for each individual or family.

  • Does my pension adjust with inflation or is it frozen?
  • Does retiring later significantly improve my pension amount?
  • Can I retire early without losing significant income?
  • Should I file for Single-Life?
  • Or should I file for Joint and Survivor?
    • 50%?
    • 75%?
    • 100%?
  • Does taking a lump sum make better sense?
  • How important is the age separation between spouses?
  • How will my life expectancy affect my benefits?
  • How do taxes affect my pension?

An in-depth pension analysis can optimize these variables for each family.

<b>401(k) or 403(b) Plans</b>

401(k) or 403(b) Plans

With a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, employers frequently match employee contributions up to a certain amount. This essentially doubles an employee's savings, which should be reason enough for younger adults to invest in these tax-deferred plans as soon as they start working.

Just be sure to contribute enough to get the full match in order to maximize your overall savings.

Traditional IRA/Roth IRA

Traditional IRA and Roth IRA accounts offer tax incentives for retirement savings. With a traditional IRA, you'll benefit from tax-deferred growth, but withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income in the year the funds are withdrawn. The Roth IRA differs from a traditional IRA in that contributions to a Roth account—as well as any earnings on those contributions—are all made with after-tax dollars.

Brokerage Accounts

Contributions to retirement accounts are limited.  Once these contributions are maximized, a brokerage (taxable) account is another great alternative to help save for retirement.  Brokerage accounts have no limits on contributions. Additionally, since contributions are made with after-tax money, only capital gains are taxable, providing diversification to your tax base.  This could be important to balance the ever-changing tax laws.

Additional withdrawal limitations come with retirement accounts based on age.  With no age restrictions, brokerage accounts can be used to fund early or semi-retirement expenses. Just as diversification with investments is important, so is diversification by account type.

<b>Work With a Financial Advisor</b>

Work With a Financial Advisor

Retirement planning lets you develop a plan that helps you achieve your retirement income goals, when and how you want to. When planning for retirement, major challenges include determining when to start drawing from retirement accounts, sizing up expenses to save more and estimating the date on which the amount saved will be sufficient.

A professional financial advisor or retirement planner will help create a realistic plan that works for you, as well as develop strategies for reaching those goals faster.

<b>Need a Retirement Plan? Call Schuylkill Financial, LLC</b>

Need a Retirement Plan? Call Schuylkill Financial, LLC

At Schuylkill Financial, we are passionate about helping you find the right retirement planning solution. This includes estimating future cash flow needs and performing a detailed analysis of your existing investments.

Don't risk failing at retirement. Build a strong retirement plan now with a local and objective team with plenty of experience. We strive to make the complexities of retirement easy for clients to understand and keep them focused on the bigger picture.

If you're interested in learning more about how we can help with your unique situation, contact us today.

Schuylkill Financial has offices in both Berks & Chester County, PA, however we work with clients all over the country.

Retirement Planning FAQs

Why is retirement planning important?

Everyone has different goals and therefore retirement plans are not one-size fits all. You need to establish a strategy that fits into your life and helps ensure financial security as you age.

What's involved in retirement planning?

Retirement planning involves three major aspects, including your current financial situation, post-retirement goals and the required financial instruments needed to achieve sufficient income during retirement.

Why is it important to plan for retirement with a financial advisor?

A financial advisor will help you plan for retirement with a realistic budget that works for you, as well as help you develop strategies to reach those goals faster. When working with your advisor, you can find the right investment strategy tailored to your financial situation and comfortable risk level.

What's a good retirement income?

In retirement, many people will need about 80 percent of the income they're used to to maintain their existing lifestyle. The more frugal a person is, the less money they'll need from retirement income.

Every person has different needs, so working with an advisor can determine how much income you require to retire comfortably.

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