Retirement planning is like the construction of a home… you wouldn’t begin building a home without first having blueprints drawn up.

Your retirement plan is the blueprints of your retirement while social security benefits, Medicare options, pension elections and retirement account distributions are your building materials.

Before you begin making important decisions about your retirement, carefully evaluate your current thinking about your situation.

First of all, Develop an income plan detailing exactly how much income you will need each year to fund your retirement lifestyle

Now, before skipping over this you should consider that your lifestyle will change along with your tax situation which means that what you need now will not be the same when you retire.

So, it is not a good idea to make general assumptions about your future income needs based on how things are while you’re working.

Careful consideration needs to be placed on what will change and what will stay the same while adding into the mix such things as travel, health care costs, and other variable expenses.

Next, Identify your income sources and show exactly how much income will be generated from each source to satisfy your annual income needs?  

No generalizations here… you should seek to know exactly how much from each resource you have.

This is where most people begin to struggle because there is often a disconnect between their mindset around their assets and the need they have from them.

There are generally two camps with this, those who focus on protecting their principal by holding cash while others hold on to public markets in hopes for long term growth making it is inherently difficult to abruptly change how the money is handled in an effort to generate income.

The next thought here is that You will want to Have your assets mapped out and separated by their purpose

What I find is that most people have money sitting in bank accounts, large amounts of equity in their home and money combined together in public markets.

And while this may seem an ideal arrangement, it is important to point out that cash in the bank is not earning anything, equity in a home is not earning anything and money in the stock market has varying levels of risk…None of which translates to having consistent income in retirement.

To get a handle on this, you have to realize that the system or mindset used to accumulate assets is not the same system or mindset used to utilize those assets.

Next is designing an income replacement plan in place for your spouse to cover the loss of social security or pension income if you were to predecease them

Developing an income strategy for retirement most often means you are relying on a husband and wife’s benefits but those benefits are only received while both are living (in most cases).

Many people are misled into believing that as you get older your need for life insurance diminishes and while this may be true for some, for others the need for it may actually rise.

Your response to questions 1-3 will determine whether life insurance is needed but in no way should you assume that once you retire it is no longer needed.

A couple of other considerations here are ensuring your legal documents (updated) in place designating financial power of attorney, medical directives, wills and trusts?

Most people kick this can down the road with the idea they will have time to get this done later.

(Later meaning when they need it.)

Here is the deal, if you wait until you need these documents it will be too late to get them.

And the other is having a contingency plan in place to cover health care costs if you were to find yourself needing long term nursing care

This is an area that so many people ignore, crossing their fingers hoping nothing happens to them that would require this level of care.

However, considering the adsorbent cost of nursing care, it is not something to ignore.

You need to know how this cost will be covered if you find yourself needing care.

The cheapest way to cover this risk is through insurance but some may be able to create a “purpose” for some of their assets.

Wherever you are in your thinking, there is an opportunity to improve your probability for a successful retirement.

To get started, figure out where you are, know where you’re going and then identify what obstacles stand in your way.

Questions, comments, or concerns? We’d love to hear from you! Send an email to or book a call at

Also, don’t forget to go to 

@shatekahusser and download your retirement planning workbook so you can begin TAKING ACTION toward your retirement.

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