Insights From Our Editors

Retirement: Poll Results & Action Plan

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

August 11, 2021

The timing of retirement, and whether to retire at all, is a huge decision. Review of Optometric Business and Women in Optometry recently collaborated on a poll on the retirement question. Here are the results, along with an action plan for how to prepare for retirement in a way that will leave you secure and happy.

To prepare for retirement it is important to have a written plan. Here are checklists for what you should do when you are one year, five years and 10 years out from retirement.i

o Rough out your retirement budget. See if you can live on it for a month.
o Make sure you are maxing out your retirement savings plans.
o If you’ve already maxed out your 401(k), consider opening a Roth IRA for emergencies.
o Max out your Health Savings Account contributions.
o Think about a “Plan B” career for your retirement years.
o Start thinking about what you would like to accomplish or do during your retirement years.
o Meet with a certified financial planner to re-balance your investment portfolio.

o Increase cash reserves to at least 3-6 months of living expenses.
o Talk to a certified financial planner so that you do not end up short.
o Re-balance your portfolio according to your current risk assessment level.
o Settle major expenses that you can foresee. (That leaky roof is not going to fix itself.)
o Research and visit potential retirement sites.
o Look into second job certification requirements.

o Create your retirement budget. Make sure you leave room for emergencies.
o Stress-test your budget by living on it for a month.
o Set up your retirement investments withdrawal plan. (A good plan is to withdraw 4 percent annually.)
o Re-balance your portfolio according to your current risk assessment level.
o Research your Medicare options especially the sign up dates, Medigap and drug coverage.
o Research your Social Security options.
o Get any expensive dental work done while still employed.
o Plan for part-time employment for your “second act.”

Retirement is one of the biggest expenses you will encounter in your life. That’s why it is important to plan for it from the beginning. An important lesson to learn in financial planning is the time value of money. The best way to implement your understanding of the time value of money is starting your retirement investment planning earlier rather than later. If you do not already have a retirement plan, then start today. Use the checklists given above to help you with your plan.

On average, if you are retiring this year, you need $1-3 million in investment income in order to continue living at your current rate of comfort. If you are planning on retiring in 40 years, then you need $3-5 million in investment income to retire in comfort.

Here’s the most important question for you to ask yourself: Am I on track to hit my financial goals for retirement? Take this week to find out that answer. Make sure that you re-ask this question at least annually.

i. Retirement Checklist One Five Ten | Synchrony Bank


*Photo credit, top of page: Getty Images


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