Hey Boomer: Can you retire here (and not starve)?

Tom Khorram
Tom Khorram
Published on July 2, 2019

An estimated 10,000 U.S. baby boomers turn 65 every day. While many are choosing to continue to work, others retire, or at least contemplate it.

Have you considered what you’ll do on that day that you take down the shingle, hang up the work clothes and leave the rat race behind?

If you’ve spent most of your adult life here, working, raising a family and building a life, the thought of leaving may be intolerable. This is especially true if you have grandkids in the area.

Although the optimal time to begin planning the end game may have happened long ago, plan you must, if it’s this city that anchors your heart.

Can you afford to remain here?

Regardless of why you want to stay, the bottom line is always money, right?

You’ll need to estimate not only your expenses during retirement but determine your income stream as well and if it will support you down the line.

“I believe it’s critical that each person take the time to determine what their lifestyle plans are and do a little research to determine what the cost of that lifestyle may be in retirement,” financial wellness expert Frank Wiginton explains to the Toronto Star’s Lisa Wright.

Yes, lifestyle considerations are important, but they mean nothing if you can’t even afford the basics.If on the other hand you spent a lifetime building and nurturing your nest egg you’ll have a comfy landing when it comes time to go wheels down on the work world. And that landing strip can be anywhere you like.

Although the Internet is full of retirement calculators that are free to use, it’s important to depend on accurate and personalized information when planning for retirement.

See a financial planner who can analyze your current situation and let you know what to expect and counsel you on your options.

“ … what the government gives it must first take away”

Ok, let’s get the tax issue out of the way upfront.

The reality is that yes, Uncle Sam will still be digging into your pocketbook even during retirement. Of course, how much you’ll pay depends on a number of factors.

In addition to all of the taxes you’ve grown accustomed to, plan on paying taxes on your IRA withdrawals, pension income and annuity distributions.

If you have income other than social security, you’ll likely pay taxes on social security income as well.

The tax picture must be considered carefully if you hope to stay local during retirement because taxes will eat a major portion of your monthly income.

Learn more about taxes in retirement at TheBalance.com and Kiplinger.com.

Trim your expenses

With relocation to a cheaper area out of the picture and knowing that it’s going to cost you dearly to remain here in town after you retire, consider now how you can lower your cost of living.

This may include postponing retirement for a few years, working part-time during retirement, paying off your mortgage and downsizing your home.

Your biggest nut every month will be your house payment. Get rid it, if you can, by paying off your mortgage.

Of course your financial advisor may tell you we’re crazy for suggesting this, so run it by him or her before giving it serious consideration.

If you can’t swing the amount of money it will take to pay off the house, consider refinancing to lower your interest rate and, thus, your monthly payment. If all else fails, sell the home and buy a cheaper one.

It’s all about the budget

Getting those numbers out of your head and onto paper (or an Excel spreadsheet) can help you figure out where you are financially and whether or not you can afford to live here (or close by) when you retire.

A budget is the best way to do this. Check out retirement budgeting tips at Investopedia.com, U.S. News and QuickenLoans.com. You’ll also find a worksheet online at TIAA.com.

Again, we urge you to consult with your financial planner before making major changes and feel free to run your real estate-related questions by us. We’re happy to help.

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