Simplifying the Retirement Planning Process
If you have lots of questions about retirement, you're not alone. Have you saved enough? How will you supplement your income in retirement? When should you claim Social Security? How will you spend your time in retirement? Our experienced financial advisors have helped answer these questions, and many more, for our clients heading into their golden years.
As fee-only financial advisors we are not compensated by selling any financial products but through a fee we charge for the advice we provide. Our mission is to help our clients reach their retirement goals so that they can experience the retirement of their dreams. To do this, we have a simple three step process when going through retirement plans:
1) What are your goals, hopes, and fears?
Before doing any retirement planning, we first want to get to know you on a personal level. What are your expectations for retirement and what do you envision retirement being? No two clients’ situation or goals are going to be the same and understanding what you want out of retirement is the first step in formulating a plan. More goes into retirement planning than just the numbers, and having a conversation about what your goals and concerns are is the first place to start.
2) Gathering the data
One of the main reasons we entered the financial planning profession is because we love numbers. But, we understand that getting into the nitty gritty is not everyone's favorite thing. Of course, if you like diving into the details we're more than happy to oblige! Our job is to gather the necessary information from you to formulate a plan so that we can present it in a clear, simple way.
To do this we'll need information on your current retirement accounts, current savings amounts, and an estimate of your future Social Security income (if applicable). Since we incorporate taxes in all our retirement planning, we will ask for previous years' tax returns. We will also need monthly spending estimates so we know how much monthly income you may need in retirement. We will also ask for copies of your current life/disability/long term care insurance policies and your estate planning documents.
This may seem overwhelming, but we are here to walk you through it step by step. We offer a file-sharing service to easily and securely upload any sensitive files. We offer a personalized service, and we encourage our clients to reach out anytime with any questions or issues they have.
3) Reviewing the plan
Once we know what your goals are, and have the necessary data, we are now able to present your personalized financial plan. We use an easy to understand software program, called Right Capital, to clearly outline the overall success of your plan. We can also provide you access to the software for you to run what-if scenarios to simulate the impact on the overall plan. What if you retire earlier? What if you increase your retirement savings? What if you downsize in 5 years and move to a different state? All of these scenarios, and much more, can be simulated in your plan which is based on your unique situation.
Of course, plans change, and things don't always go as expected. There are some things that we can't control, like stock market performance or health changes. Other times your own personal retirement goals change. Maybe you want to work part-time as a hobby, buy a second home and sneak down south for the winters, or decide to help fund a grandchild's education. Whatever changes come your way, Milestone Financial Planning is here to help you have the best retirement possible.
Tax Centric Retirement Planning
Just because you're retired, doesn't mean taxes stop. In fact, in many instances tax planning can get more complex in retirement than when you're working. Juggling the tax treatment of different retirement accounts, Social Security taxation, state taxes, and possibly even estate taxes, there is a lot to consider!
Effective tax management in retirement can make the difference between reaching your goals or not. However, unlike when you're working, in retirement there is sometimes more flexibility in when you can be taxed on income. At Milestone, we usually review your tax situation every year, and when advantageous, we may recommend accelerating income taken, or deferring it to future years. What separates Milestone from many other financial advisors is the emphasis we put on tax planning and seeking to reduce your total lifetime taxes paid, including during retirement.