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Planning for Your Retirement: Understanding the Financials

Whether retirement is still a few years away or coming up quickly, you can make plans to help ease financial concerns for the future. A little planning now can go a long way later—particularly if you are interested in maintaining an exciting retirement lifestyle. The following tips provide initial steps as you consider your financial health. However, it is best to talk over the specifics with a financial planner or attorney. In fact, that’s a great place to start:

1. Find a financial expert. Not everyone needs a financial adviser. Some people prefer using online calculators and self-help resources. However, if you have questions or are uncertain of the right path, talking to an adviser can help. If you don’t already have a financial planner, ask for referrals from people you trust. Who do they use? Do they feel that they’ve received personal service? What are the costs? Be sure the adviser has credentials and experience in retirement planning.

2. Decide the best time to start Social Security. You can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62 and as late as 70. However, starting too soon can greatly reduce your benefits over time. If you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age for Social Security benefits is 67.1. See your benefits by your birth year here. Also, you can sign up for Medicare at age 65, whether or not you're retired. Also, if you have a traditional IRA or 401(k), you must begin disbursements at age 72.

3. Develop a spending plan. To understand how much money you may need in retirement, it is important to calculate your monthly income and financial commitments. This will help you in planning other important aspects of retirement, such as where you will live and what options you have. This AARP budgeting worksheet can help.

4. Get organized. If you have multiple bank and credit card accounts, consider simplifying. Also, make sure a trusted loved one knows your wishes and financial situation. Designate a Financial Power of Attorney, in case you ever need someone to step in and manage your financial affairs.

5. Beware of debt. Whether it’s a credit card or a reverse mortgage, understand that the money will eventually need to be repaid. These measures can be helpful, but it’s important to know their terms. Also, check your credit report to see how much credit you have available. Many credit cards now offer this as a free service.

6. Beware of fraud. As the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” If you’re suspicious of a financial offer, look for these classic warning signs, provided by the FDIC:

- An unsolicited phone call, e-mail or other request that you pay a large amount of money before receiving the goods or services
- An unexpected e-mail or call requesting your bank account number, perhaps one asking you for the information printed at the bottom of one of your check.
- An offer that seems too good to be true, like an investment “guaranteeing” a return that’s way above the competition
- Someone expressing a new or unusual interest in your finances
- Pressure to send funds quickly by wire transfer
- The other party insists on secrecy

Additionally, never provide Social Security numbers, bank account information, PINs, passwords and other sensitive information in response to an unsolicited call, fax, letter, e-mail or text message, no matter how genuine the situation may appear to be.

Need more help? The Village at Providence Point-A National Lutheran Community is here for you. Contact us today to discuss the retirement lifestyle in our community and the peace of mind you will having in knowing the support and health services are here should you need them. Take control of your money now and for the future!

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