Before you retire...

Craig Watkins |

At Cornerstone Financial Group, we strive to Plan First, Invest Second™.   With this in mind, we have put together a checklist of 10 items, to help you assess your retirement!  We continually approach our planning process with a wholistic approach.  We consider your critical life events, what it will take for you to have reliable income through every stage of your retirement and always leave a little room for life's "what-ifs".  We pride ourselves on continually monitoring and adjusting this plan to consistently fit your lifestyle and comfort level.  Please take a moment to review this list below.  We invite you to contact us, if find yourself in need of a plan or just have concerns you would like to discuss during this time of volatile market correction.

1. How will you spend your time in retirement? -As with any new stage in life, how will you spend your time?  It is imperative you plan for hobbies, recreation, time with family and friends.  In this way, not only can we calculate any additional spending you may incur, we will also ensure you are fulfilled and have a purpose for you to be content.  How has this volatile market correction affected you?

2. How much income do you need in retirement? -This is essential and will undoubtedly change as you move through the different stages of retirement.  Craig always reminds us there are three stages to a retired person's life-the "go-go" stage, the "go-slow" stage and the "no-go" stage.  Your needs change, as will the price of milk-so will your need to adjust your income.  Do you have enough money in each one of these three stage's?

3.  Create a diverse variety of income sources- You will find creating your income distribution plan with us allows for the diverse, carefully calculated plan of first defining sources of income for you, and then with the use of our proprietary system, ensuring these sources of income are cycled through to provide maximization of and reliable income throughout retirement-your new paycheck!  This too could change through critical life events-the sale of a business, inheritance of income, etc.-this distribution plan will evolve and need to be maintained throughout retirement.

4. What will your healthcare costs look like in retirement? – We all know this will change throughout retirement.  We have a strategic partner who specializes in Medicare.  We want you to be educated to make informed Medicare decisions and will work with you on long-term care costs-there are a multitude of ways we can account for long-term care coverage within your income distribution plan. 

5. What does your current debt look like? -Carrying debt into retirement will need to be factored into your income distribution plan.  We have a multitude of strategies we can employ within your income distribution plan we create with you to account for debt and changes to it over time.

6. What does your emergency fund look like for retirement? – Do you have an emergency fund?  These challenging times have all of us reflecting on what our emergency fund looks like!  Your income distribution plan will account for emergency reserves and will need to be evaluated regularly to ensure it suits your potential needs.  A good rule of thumb is to take your budget and plan for at least 6 months of reserves.  You will have to account for this within your plan and the changes to it over time. We can work with you to utilize our proprietary strategies to make this work for you.

7. Critical life events calculation-What happens if you or your spouse pass away? - What will that do to your income?  37% of your Social Security Benefits could be lost, do you have a plan for this?  Our income distribution plan will account for this.  What happens if your business closes suddenly?  What if you find yourself caring for a loved one?  There are critical life events we can help you plan to account for throughout your retirement, within your income distribution plan.

8. Have you looked at your tax efficiency? – It is imperative to be tax efficient.  We plan within your income distribution plan to ensure we take distributions in the most tax efficient way possible, after all, who wants to pay higher taxes than necessary?  Changing legislation has allowed for strategic tax planning over the years.  This is a constantly changing area of your retirement which needs to be monitored.  Let's have a conversation with your tax advisor-don't have one?  We have strategic tax advisors we have partnered with to help increase tax efficiency for our clients.

9. What is your risk tolerance of the market? -When you become a client at CFG, we assess your risk tolerance when forming your income distribution plan.  Times like these may have some people wondering if their risk tolerance has changed.  This is a factor you may need to re-assess from time to time throughout your retirement.  How has this volatile market correction affected your risk tolerance?

10. Have you completed any Estate Planning? – These times we are facing have taught us not to take anything for granted.  Have you established a will?  Are your assets easily located?  Don't wait until it is too late.  We have strategic partners who help our clients ensure their estate is both protected and their legacy is planned for.  You have worked hard, let's make sure your intentions are legally accounted for, so loved ones don't encounter undue stress in hard times.

If you find yourself with questions or concerns while reading this list, contact us today!  We strive to ensure you enter retirement prepared and we want to continually help you maintain your plan, so you enjoy every stage of retirement!  These challenging times have taught us the importance of a plan and the importance of maintaining that plan we have created for you.

If you know someone who can benefit from a plan, or just needs to have a conversation about these checklist items, please contact us today with their contact information and we will reach out to them!  We look forward to helping you achieve your retirement goals, contact us today to get started!