It has often been said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago and the second best time is today.

This is a perfect analogy for those who hope to retire, but aren’t quite prepared. If you are unprepared to retire don’t feel alone. The statistics concerning American preparedness for retirement are dismal.

The earlier you start to save for retirement the better, but when that is not possible, retirees will be required to save much more later on.

Uncle Sam provides some help with this.

If you are over age 50, the IRS allows you to contribute $6,500 to an IRA while those under 50 can only contribute $5,500 for 2017. The IRS also allows those over 50 an extra $5,000 contribution to 401(k)s.

Social Security and some pension plans pay more to those who delay retirement. Social Security increases the payout up until age 70.

Many late retirees will need to delay these payments in order to get a higher payout. This isn’t without risk, as death will end these payments. No one knows when they will pass away, but if you don’t have longevity in your family you will need to take extra precaution.

It can also be valuable to not think of retirement as all or nothing. Millions of Americans ease into retirement by working part-time.

This extra income can bridge the gap left by insufficient savings and still allow some of the freedom that retirees enjoy.

Some people believe they can make up lost time by taking extra risk and getting a larger investment return.

This can backfire and leave you with less than what you started with. Never take more risk than necessary even if it means working longer.

Many people delay retirement because they have unselfishly helped children or parents. It is difficult to tell people to stop helping a loved one but you may be making things worse by trying to help too much.

Consider airline companies who tell people to put on their own oxygen masks before anyone else. You can’t effectively help other people if you are helpless.

Many Napa residents have experienced a large increase in the value of their homes. This has caused a lot Napans to cash in and move to other areas where real estate is much more affordable.

Many of our clients ask us for advice on the financial impacts of moving. While this can offer many financial benefits it can also have adverse effects. The emotional ties that bind us to our communities are powerful.

If you are considering a move as part of a retirement plan, take extra time to make that decision.

Let us return to the analogy that the second best time to plant a tree is today. Some people still don’t plant that tree. They dwell on how long it will take to see the benefit.

This attitude accompanied with further inaction will guarantee the requirement to work well into the golden years.

Tom and John Mills are registered investment advisers and certified financial planners. Reach them at 254-0155, MillsWealth.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group (SWAG), a registered investment adviser.

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