Don’t Outlive Your Money: 3 Retirement Budget Tips

By Jeff Gilbert

Retirement is a milestone unlike any other, but rather than eagerly anticipating these golden years, almost half of all Americans worry about running out of money in retirement. (1) Are you one of them? Even if you’re not, you likely feel the need to be fiscally responsible in retirement in order to avoid problems down the road.

As the foundation of personal financial management, a budget is essential if you want to stay on top of your finances in retirement. Here are three budgeting tips to help boost your confidence and peace of mind as you enter and enjoy retirement.

1. Identify Flexible Spending Categories

As you build your budget, organize it based on needs. Every single expense should be identified as either fixed or variable and essential or non-essential. For example, your housing expenses are likely fixed and essential. Food is essential, but it is a variable expense. A gym or country club membership may be fixed, but it is non-essential. Other forms of leisure or travel are likely variable and non-essential.

Knowing which expenses are necessary and which are flexible can give you incredible peace of mind. If you’re used to spending $8,000 a month, once you sort your expenses and discover that only $4,500 of them are truly necessary, it relieves a lot of pressure. 

It also allows you to make wiser financial decisions and adjust better to market conditions. If we enter a bear market and your portfolio is down, you can cut spending back to cover the necessary expenses you identified. Maybe you put off that big trip or eat out less. This can potentially keep more of your money invested so you can be better positioned if and when the market bounces back.  

2. Plan For Taxes

Unless all of your money is in an after-tax account or Roth IRA, you will have to deal with taxes in retirement. Having your mortgage paid off before retirement is a common—and excellent—goal. However, don’t make the false assumption that no mortgage equals no payments. 

Part of your monthly mortgage payment may be going toward property taxes and homeowners insurance if you escrow. Don’t forget that you still have to pay these bills when your home is fully paid off, and it’s important that these figures be included in your budget. Keep in mind, these numbers will be inflating over time as well. One way to handle property taxes and homeowners insurance in retirement is to set aside money on a monthly basis, just like you did with your mortgage, so that you have the funds when those bills are due.

Property taxes won’t be the only taxes you will owe in retirement. Distributions from 401(k)s and IRA accounts will most likely be considered taxable income. Even your Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your overall income. It’s critical that you are withholding and paying the proper taxes so that you don’t get into a large tax bill situation. A competent tax preparer can help you with this.

3. Work With A Professional

Tax preparers aren’t the only financial professionals you’ll want to work with in retirement. A competent financial planner can make the difference between a retirement marked by fear and stress (like the 49% of Americans mentioned previously) and one of confidence.

The closer you get to retirement, the more you’ll find investment advisors who want to work with you and manage your money for you. Yes, it’s wise to have a professional help you with your investments, but that isn’t enough. You need a financial professional who will not only manage your money but help you manage your entire financial life as well. 

We at Balboa Wealth Partners will help you develop a comprehensive financial plan that includes your short-term and long-term goals, a sustainable budget, and a general road map to help you navigate retirement. To learn more about what it’s like to work with a professional who cares more about your life than your investments, contact us at 949-445-1465 or jgilbert@balboawealth.com to set up a no-obligation conversation.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout Southern California as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

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(1) https://www.aarp.org/retirement/planning-for-retirement/info-2019/retirees-fear-losing-money.html

5 Ways To Prepare For A More Affordable Retirement

By Jeff Gilbert

Retirement is expensive. That’s one thing everyone can agree on. But what if there were steps you could take now to actively reduce the amount of money you’ll need later on? That’s exactly what we’ll talk about today. Ready? Here are 5 ways to prepare for a more affordable retirement. 

1. Pay Off Your Mortgage

Your mortgage is arguably your largest recurring expense in retirement. Getting rid of this payment before you enter your golden years can significantly reduce the amount of money you need each month. 

Start by calculating how much extra money you could throw toward your principal. Could you make one extra payment every few months? What about one extra payment a year? 

If there’s not a lot of wiggle room in your monthly budget, consider cutting down on discretionary expenses. Or earmark any extra money you get from bonuses or tax refunds for your mortgage. Every little bit counts.

2. Downsize Or Relocate

If you’re still living in the same house where you raised your family, there’s a good chance you don’t need all that space in retirement. Downsizing may seem extreme, but it’s a quick way to reduce your long-term retirement costs, lower utility bills, and pay off debt. Plus, a one-story house with a smaller yard may be easier to keep up with as you age. 

If you’re not tied down to your current city, take it a step further by relocating to an area with a lower cost of living. You might be surprised by how much further you can stretch your retirement dollars. For example, a $1 million nest egg lasts around 13 years in California, but 23 years in Mississippi. (1)

3. Travel During The Off-Season

Ask 50 people what they plan on doing in retirement, and I’m sure most of them will say travel. Whether it’s traveling across the country to visit the grandkids or traveling around the world to visit the Eiffel Tower, it’s on everyone’s list—and for good reason. After working 30+ years, you deserve to go to all those places on your bucket list. 

But if you want to stretch your travel budget even further, consider traveling during the off-season. It has many perks. Not only are airlines, hotels, and activities cheaper, but you beat the crowds too! Plus, you have extra money left over to jump-start your next trip. Sounds nice, right? 

4. Consider Long-Term Care Insurance

It’s estimated that nearly 70% of people turning 65 today will need some type of long-term care during retirement. (2) This could be anything from a home health aide (which costs an estimated $4,290 a month) or a private room in a nursing home (which costs an estimated $8,517 a month). (3) Unfortunately, these outrageous costs often result in financial plan failures for 32% of households with a $1 million net worth. (4)

So, what do you do? We recommend buying a long-term care insurance policy. While Medicare covers costs for acute illnesses, long-term care insurance fills in the gap by covering personal costs for health home aides, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and more. 

Studies show we’ll all have long-term care expenses at some point. Insurance helps preserve your nest egg and fill in the gaps where Medicare falls short.

5. Delay Social Security

The average life expectancy is 84.3 for men and 86.6 for women. If your health and family history indicates that you may live this long (or longer), delaying Social Security until age 70 could earn you thousands of more dollars in retirement.   

For example, the chart below shows how much your monthly Social Security payout would be if your estimated payment was $2,000 at full retirement age and you claimed benefits at age 62, 66, and 70.* 

If you start collecting benefits at this age… your monthly payout will be this much…
62 (reduced benefits) $1,500
66 (full benefits) $2,000
70 (increased benefits) $2,640

*Assuming a full retirement age of 66

According to this example, you earn $1,140 more a month if you wait to claim benefits at age 70 instead of 62.  

How We Help You Prepare For A Secure Retirement

As you can see, there are many ways to prepare for a more affordable retirement. We hope that you’re able to implement some of these strategies today, so you can live out your retirement dreams later on. 

At Balboa Wealth Partners, we’re passionate about helping you live your ideal retirement life. If you’d like to chat with a financial professional about your current situation, we invite you to schedule a no-obligation conversation today. During this meeting, we review your current retirement plan, answer any questions you may have, and help you create a financial road map that leads to success. To get started, give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout Southern California as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

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(1) https://finance.yahoo.com/news/long-1-million-retirement-last-090000023.html

(2) https://longtermcare.acl.gov/the-basics/how-much-care-will-you-need.html

(3) https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html

(4) https://www.businessinsider.com/10-things-to-know-about-long-term-care-2016-9

The Top 4 Regrets in Retirement

The closer you get to retirement, the more excited you probably get. It’s a milestone we often start thinking about as soon as we enter our working years, and many of us relish the idea of slowing down, changing pace, and finally having all the time we need to pursue passions and invest in relationships. But what happens when you get to retirement and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be? Have you considered the idea that you could regret your decision to retire? Here are four common retirement regrets to keep in mind as you prepare for your golden years.

1. Retiring Too Soon

Whether you were forced to retire earlier than planned or you made the decision on your own, retiring before you are ready can cause plenty of regret. In fact, 30% of retirees admitted they would gladly re-enter the workforce if a job became available. (1)

If you decided to retire prior to turning 65, you probably had to find pre-Medicare coverage, which is often quite a bit more expensive than an employer-sponsored plan. By waiting until you turn 65, you will qualify for Medicare and not be forced to obtain other health insurance to cover you during the transition.

Financially, the earlier you retire the fewer years you have to save and the longer you will have to live off of your money. If your finances are keeping you up at night or you are living at a lower quality of life than you are used to, you may regret retiring when you did.

Working even a few years longer can provide these valuable benefits:

  • More time to accumulate savings
  • More years to apply towards Social Security which could result in a larger benefit amount
  • Health insurance coverage through your employer
  • Purpose and identity
  • Stronger mental and physical health (2)

2. Not Creating a Social Security Claiming Strategy

Social Security benefits can be claimed anytime between ages 62 and 70. However, the timing of when you choose to collect these benefits will impact the amount of benefit you receive.

Full retirement age (FRA) changes based on the year you were born. For those born in 1937 and earlier, FRA is 65. After 1937, two months is added each year until FRA becomes 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954. Starting in 1955, two months a year is added again until the FRA becomes 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

If you wait until you reach full retirement age to begin collecting your Social Security benefits, you will receive your full Primary Insurance Amount, which is the full benefit that you have earned, but if you choose or are forced into an early retirement, you will receive a reduced benefit. Your basic benefit is reduced a fraction of a percent for each month you begin receiving benefits prior to full retirement age, up to 30%.

3. Overspending in the First Years of Retirement

Even if you have a solid nest egg saved to carry you through retirement, you still need to exercise financial discipline to ensure your money lasts. Dipping too deep into your savings as soon as you retire could make or break your retirement dreams. Instead, create a realistic retirement budget, factoring in travel or hobbies, then work with your advisor to find a withdrawal rate that will stretch your money for as long as possible.

4. Not Having a Retirement Bucket List

Free time is a major perk of retirement, but when you go from working full-time to not working at all it can be a shock to your system. Saying goodbye to your career, your colleagues, and your routines can cause anxiety and depression. But if you plan ahead to fill your time with activities that will fulfill you, you can avoid the negative emotions that can come with this life transition.

Do you want to know what activities result in a fulfilling retirement? A BMO study on retirement planning reveals that retirees who stayed busy and active, pursued independence, and volunteered their time were satisfied with their life. (3) One study of retirees even found that those who volunteered 200 hours a year were less likely to develop high blood pressure. (4) The takeaway here is to be intentional about your time in retirement. Make a list of things you want to do, places you want to go, and people you want to spend time with, then strategically map out the details so your goals become a reality. It’s easy to lose your identity when you say goodbye to your career, but filling your time and venturing out into new territory will help you build a new identity and give you something to look forward to.

Live With No Regrets

You probably don’t want to celebrate the incredible milestone of retirement and then wake up the next day wondering if you made the right decision. Deciding when and how to retire is one of the most difficult decisions you will make in life, but you don’t have to make the hard choices alone. If you want to avoid facing these common regrets when you retire, reach out to us for a no-obligation conversation by calling 949-445-1465 or emailing jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

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(1) https://www.cnbc.com/2014/08/21/retirees-go-back-to-work.html

(2) http://www.medicaldaily.com/planning-retiring-early-consider-these-5-health-risks-first-247669

(3) https://commercial.bmoharris.com/resource/wealth-management/whats-your-retirement-game-plan/

(4) http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pag/28/2/578/?_ga=1.177767717.1281536077.1488342343

How Much Risk is in Your 401(k)?

We frequently hear about how important and necessary a 401(k) plan is for retirement, but with such a beneficial investment opportunity comes inherent risks, from choosing appropriate funds to understanding hidden fees. When was the last time you analyzed your 401(k), or even logged into your account? Do you know how much risk is in your 401(k)?

What Makes a 401(k) Unique?

A 401(k) plays a unique role in your financial planning and is different from other accounts in a few ways. First, you likely receive your 401(k) from an employer who may match contributions, encouraging you to contribute a larger percentage of your income. You can also choose how and where your money is invested, your contributions are made on an after-tax basis and, at the maximum, you and your employer can contribute jointly up to $55,000 (for 2018) or $61,000 for those aged 50 or older.

However, a 401(k) does require maintenance. Your company provides a way for you to save for retirement, which is great, but their job is not to help you manage the risk in your account, give investment advice, or insight into fees you may not be aware of.

So what can you do to ensure your 401(k) is working hard for your financial future and isn’t carrying too much risk?

Risks To Avoid

Let’s look at a few risks 401(k)s are susceptible to and ways you can avoid them.

Improper Allocation

401(k) values typically rise and fall with the stock market, meaning they don’t offer protection from losses. If the stock market does well, so does your 401(k). But if it drops, so will your retirement account, no matter how soon you need the money. The key to avoiding this risk is to maintain the proper asset allocation for your risk tolerance level. Examine the investment options offered by your company and choose the ones at your risk level, being sure to diversify your choices accordingly.

Turning On Autopilot

Most companies enroll their employees at a 3% contribution rate, but 3% will not get you to your retirement goals. Likewise, many plans choose allocations for you, but are those really the best choices for your situation? Because of the many decisions that come with starting and managing your 401(k) account, many people employ a “set it and forget it” method, neglecting to review its progress and regularly rebalance. In fact, 25% of workers with a 401(k) have never made adjustments to their account. (1) In a matter of a few years, those who neglect their 401(k) may realize that their account no longer reflects their risk tolerance, time horizon, and needs. Take the time to create a 401(k) strategy, check in with your account to rebalance, and increase your contribution rate as your financial situation allows.

Investing Heavily In Company Stock

If you have the option to purchase employer stock, be sure to exercise caution. Do you really want so much of your financial well being tied up in one company? This is important because if your company performs poorly it will depress the stock price and could lead to layoffs as well. There go your portfolio, your income, and your health insurance all at once. Sadly, many people have experienced this. Back in 1999 when Enron filed for bankruptcy, more than $1 billion in employee retirement savings simply evaporated. Many Lehman Brothers employees experienced the same thing as well. (2)

Ignoring Fees

According to a survey commissioned by retirement investment advisory firm Rebalance IRA, nearly half of investors don’t think they pay any fees in their retirement accounts, and 19% believe their fees are less than 0.5%. But the reality is, you are likely paying closer to 2% or 3%. Depending on the account and company, mutual fund fees can be staggering and consume a large chunk of your gains. On top of that, there are many undisclosed costs (such as transaction fees, bookkeeping fees, finder’s fees, etc.) that eat away further at your retirement dollars. By choosing investments with lower fees, you may be able to achieve higher returns.

Lack of Investment Guidance

The average 401(k) plan offers 25 investment choices. While options are good, sometimes too many can confuse and overwhelm investors. Without sufficient investment knowledge, employees may choose a little of each and end up with a portfolio that isn’t diversified or appropriately aligned with individual needs.

Getting On Track with Your 401(k)

The question is, do you really know how fast your 401(k) is careening down the investment highway towards retirement? Are you on track toward your retirement goals or do your strategies need adjusting? You have worked hard your entire career to save for retirement; now is not the time to be passive about protecting your nest egg.

Let us help you create a retirement strategy that can get you where you want to go when you want to get there. We can help you understand how your employee retirement plan works, how to optimize benefits, and coordinate your plans with your other retirement and investment strategies. To get your 401(k) on the right track, complete a complimentary risk assessment here and give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

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(1) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/401ks-why-set-it-and-forget-it-can-be-a-disaster/

(2) https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/stock-plan-mistakes

Three Unexpected Reasons Your Retirement Plan May Fail

We all desire to have a secure retirement where we can focus on our passions without having to worry about money. But according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2017 Retirement Confidence survey, 82% of American workers do not feel very confident that they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement. Along with a lack of confidence, 30% say that preparing for retirement causes them to feel mentally or emotionally stressed.

While there are many factors that could impact your retirement that are outside of your control, there are also proactive steps you can take that will help you move forward with confidence and peace of mind. Take a look at these three common yet unexpected reasons your retirement plan could fail and the strategies to reduce the threat they pose to your financial future.

1. Rising Health Care Costs

According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, the average couple at age 65 will require anywhere from $157,000 to $392,000 in health care costs. Most people don’t even have that much in their retirement accounts to live on, let alone cover medical costs. Without your employer’s health insurance, adequate coverage is typically more expensive and harder to find. Even with Medicare, there could be significant out-of-pocket expenses and many conditions and treatments that are not covered.

When choosing your health insurance for retirement, make sure you understand all Medicare options and supplements and work with an experienced professional to help you evaluate your options. For example, many people don’t know that basic Medicare has no cap on out-of-pocket expenses. A supplement is required to achieve a limit on costs. Comprehensive insurance is more expensive but can limit unexpected expenses. If you plan to retire before age 65, be sure to get a pre-Medicare policy in place.

2. Premature Loss of a Spouse

Losing your spouse is devastating, regardless of when it happens. But losing a spouse during the final years of their career can be dangerous for the surviving spouse’s financial plan. Furthermore, retirement and long-term care costs may increase without a spouse to share costs and provide care. Depending on pension benefits selected, a spouse’s pension may not pay out to the surviving spouse in the event of his or her death. An early death may also decrease the spousal Social Security benefits the surviving spouse receives, leaving him or her with little income.

It’s critical for both spouses to be actively involved in the planning process to avoid a setback if this tragedy occurs. Take the time to consider benefits for the surviving spouse, such as life insurance. Wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations should be reviewed to ensure both spouses are protected financially. You should also create a pension and Social Security strategy to optimize the benefit for the surviving spouse. Examine multiple scenarios and make sure that you are taken care of no matter what happens.

3. Unexpected Early Retirement

We all know that unexpected life events can occur at any time and derail your plans. The same can happen to your retirement. While the average expected retirement age is 66, most people end up retiring at 62. According to the 2017 EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey, there is a considerable gap between when a person expects to retire and when they actually retire. While 38% of respondents stated that they would like to retire at age 70 or older, only 4% followed through. Most end up retiring earlier and often it’s not by choice.

There’s always the chance you could lose your job or fall ill. Even if you want to work longer and save more, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to do that. Early retirement can destroy even well-laid retirement plans. The loss of income during the final years of your career can spell financial disaster, and this is especially true for high earners.

To protect against this risk, plan for the unexpected. Make sure you have adequate disability insurance to protect your income in the event of an illness or disability. You can also work with an advisor to create scenarios and see what your savings and income would look like if you were forced to retire early.

Create An Action Plan

Retirement planning can be complicated and stressful due to the many uncertain factors that go along with it. However, by understanding some of the risks and common roadblocks you can experience, you can plan ahead for the unexpected and reduce the chances that your retirement plan will fail.

At Balboa Wealth Partners, we specialize in helping you plan for your future while managing and preserving your wealth. Our mission is to partner with you to make strategic decisions about your money and feel confident in your future. If you think your retirement plan needs a second look, call me at  949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com  so we can evaluate your portfolio and find ways to minimize these threats.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.