Generalizations about money and retirement linger. For example:
“When I’m retired, I won’t really have to invest anymore.”
Society still sees retirement as an end instead of a beginning – a finish line for a career.
In reality, for some retirement is the start of a new and promising phase of life that could last decades. Retirement can last 30 years or more.
“My taxes will be lower when I retire.”
Not necessarily. You may earn less, and that could put you in a lower tax bracket.
On the other hand, you may end up waving goodbye to some of the tax breaks you enjoyed while working, and state and local taxes will almost certainly rise with time.
In addition, you could pay taxes on money withdrawn from IRAs and other qualified retirement plans, perhaps even a portion of your Social Security benefits.
“I started saving too late; I have no hope of retiring.”
If your nest egg is not substantial, working longer may be beneficial.
Continuing to earn a salary could allow you fewer retirement years to plan for and the potential for your savings to compound longer.
Don’t lose hope: remember that you can make larger, catch-up contributions to IRAs after 50, and remember that you have savings potential in workplace retirement plans.
“Medicare will take care of me when I’m really old.”
Not true. Medicare may (this is not guaranteed) pay for up to 100 days of long-term care expenses you incur.
If you need months or years of long-term care, you may have to pay for it out of pocket if you lack long-term care insurance.
“I should help my kids with college costs before I retire.”
That’s a nice thought, but you don’t have to follow through on it.
Remember, there is no retiree “financial aid.” Your student can work, save or borrow to pay for the cost of college, with decades ahead to pay back any loans.
There is value in earning an education.
“I’ll live on less when I’m retired.”
We all have the cliché in our minds of a retired couple in their 70s or 80s living modestly, hardly eating out, and asking about senior discounts.
In the later phase of retirement, couples often choose to live on less, sometimes out of necessity. The initial phase of retirement may be a different story
There is no “generic” retirement experience, and therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all retirement plan.
Each individual, couple, or family should have a strategy tailored to their particular money situation and life and financial objectives.
Start planning sooner than later.