3 Tips for Planning Your Financial Future
What you need to be thinking about, questions to ask your financial advisor and more
If you are a baby boomer, it's time to start thinking about your financial future. Whether it's just you, you and your spouse or you are still waiting to be an empty nester, you need to have a plan. This article will provide information on what you need to be thinking about, questions to ask your financial advisor, financial milestones to be aware of and a commonly overlooked financial planning tip.
1. Understand Your Nest Egg
According to Investopedia, baby boomers tend to be more conservative with their finances but they are also the least likely generation to consult a financial professional. Whether you are a conservative spender who hangs on every word of their wealth manager or your habits are more indulgent and spontaneous, it's important to review your finances and have a concrete understanding of your nest egg. This is important, due to the fact that the social security board of trustees estimates that the reserves will be exhausted by 2034.
Do your own research and don't just rely on friends and family. Talk to a financial advisor, preferably a fiduciary, to have a full understanding of your nest egg and how it plays into answering the following questions:
- How much money will you have when you retire?
- How long will that money last and how much can you spend each year? (You can also break this out into monthly or quarterly spending if that is easier.)
- Will your nest egg allow you to do things like travel, buy new cars, maintain your current home or possibly move to another location?
- Do you have an investment portfolio? If so, how does that play into your future plans? What are the projections for your portfolio?
- Do you have a pension?
- Do you have a plan for healthcare costs? Does this involve moving into an independent living community or possibly moving closer to family?
- Does this plan include an emergency fund?
- How does your 401k or Roth IRA fit into this plan? What are your plans for withdrawing?
These are just a few of the questions you should ask your financial advisor. You need to have a complete understanding of how much money you have, how it will be spent in the future, and if you are investing, how that money can work for you.
2. Celebrate Financial Milestones
You should celebrate every birthday and each year that passes. This may sound like a sentiment you find on a Hallmark card, but it's also important financial advice. There are a handful of milestone birthdays that signify new financial opportunities. Here are the ones that you need to be aware of:
- 50 - You can start making “catch-up” contributions to your retirement accounts, including your 401(k) and IRA.
- 55 - You can begin to access money from your 401(k) penalty-free if you will be at least age 55 in the year you stop working.
- 59½ - You can start making penalty-free withdrawals from your retirement accounts, including any 401(k)s and IRAs.
- 65 - Apply for Medicare, or you may be penalized.
- 70 - Claim your Social Security benefits if you haven’t already.
- 72 - Begin taking withdrawals, known as required minimum distributions (RMDs), from most retirement accounts.
3. Look into Pre-Planning Your Memorial
This one may come as a shock, but pre-planning your funeral service or memorial is one of the most financially proactive and savvy decisions you can make.
At first, pre-planning your memorial may feel uncomfortable. This is a natural reaction. Take a step back, think about this from a place of pure logic and remove emotion. Here are some reasons you should consider pre-planning now:
- Inflation - the cost of everything from houses to cars to food is rising and this includes memorials. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a traditional funeral runs about $7,500. This cost is not consistent across the country or even across different choices of burial. Planning now can reduce the cost of a memorial when it comes time.
- Pay for What You Want - a memorial is a reflection on your life. Loved ones will commonly feel stressed or overwhelmed with planning the memorial of a family member or friend who has passed. Loved ones may even choose to spend more as a result of their grief and longing for the deceased to be remembered in the best light. If you pre-plan your memorial, there will not be any stress or discussion around what you would have preferred and what was important to you. The plan - everything from burial preference to headstone choice to flowers - will all be decided.
- Know Your Memorial is Covered - beyond the stress of planning a memorial for a deceased loved one, there is also the stress of paying for the memorial of a loved one. By pre-planning, and pre-paying for the memorial, you are ensuring that your loved ones never need to pay out of pocket.
For more information on preplanning your memorial or to download a free planning kit, visit memorialplanning.com.
MemorialPlanning.com also offers articles on financial planning and different burial options:
- Why You Need to Plan Ahead for Funeral Expenses
- Cremation vs. Burial: Advantages, Benefits of Each Option
- Planning Your Own Funeral: How to Make Arrangements For Yourself
MemorialPlanning.com By StoneMor Inc.
Honoring your family is our life's work. As a family-first network of cemeteries and funeral homes, we aim to be an industry leader in celebrating and honoring a person's life in a way they want that story to be told. MemorialPlanning.com, an on-line resource provided by StoneMor Inc., has everything you need to plan end-of-life services at both a time of at-need as well as in advance to secure the comfort of peace of mind.