Many types of clients come into my elder law office, and most of them are at one point or another in their journey through retirement. The following are the top 5 ways I’ve seen seniors make the most out of their retirement in California, and what you can do now to make sure you have the best retirement possible:
1) Put money away
Some seniors are lucky enough to have a pension and collect the maximum amount they can from Social Security. Some may still have health coverage provided by the jobs they retired from, especially if they worked in the public sector. But you never know what can happen to these benefits due to policy changes, or in a case where benefits are received through a spouse but end when the spouse passes away. That’s why it’s so important to have your own retirement savings to count on. Whether it’s through an employer program or a personal retirement account, it’s critical to put money away in case your benefits run out due to unforeseen circumstances.
2) Create an investment plan
Savings alone might not net the funds you need to retire in relative comfort, especially if you take into account the recommendation of some financial experts who say that you should save ten times your annual salary in order to retire comfortably. That’s not exactly a realistic savings plan for most Americans. However, investing money through mutual funds or exchanges may give you the growth in savings you need to achieve financial security during retirement.
3) Plan your retirement date carefully
Social Security benefits are available to senior citizens at the age of 62 – this creates the impression that 62 might just be the age at which you can retire. However, this might not be the best course of action. Taking Social Security benefits early, as opposed to age 65 or even 70, means that you will receive a much smaller benefit for the rest of your life. This can cause problems for you down the road, as unexpected illnesses and expenses might eat away at your life’s savings and leave you relying on a small Social Security benefit – something that could force you to go back to work to make ends meet during the time you should be enjoying your retirement.
4) Sell your home and downsize
Your kids have been out of the house for years, and you don’t go in that big pool of yours as often anymore, if at all. So maybe it’s time to sell and move to a smaller house or a senior community. It can’t be stressed enough how much money this could save you in taxes and the expenses associated with living in a large house. That’s money that could be going directly into a retirement account, and which would be better than having it go to the tax collector or utility companies.
5) Get out and make new friends
While making sure you have enough money for retirement is obviously important, it’s also critical that you look after your personal needs as well. Loneliness is a difficult thing for seniors to deal with, especially after the death of a spouse, but it can be helped at least a little bit by going to senior centers, getting involved in activities, and making new friends. This is easy to do if you live in an assisted living community as they have daily activities for residents to help them socialize.
If you have any questions about planning for your retirement, call the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane at (818) 905-6088 to set up a FREE consultation.