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Financial freedom: A gift to your family

Mark Freeman

Here’s a sobering statistic: 72% of retirees say one of their biggest fears is becoming a burden on their families, according to a study by Edward Jones and the consulting firm Age Wave. If you are near retirement, how can you prepare yourself to become financially free, so you won’t have to depend on grown children or other family members?
Here are a few suggestions to consider:

•  Keep adding to retirement savings. Today, with a greater awareness of healthy lifestyles, many people are spending two, or even three, decades in an active retirement. To help pay for those years, then, you’ll likely need to build your retirement savings as much as possible. So, while you’re still working, try to contribute as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. If you are in the later stages of your career, possibly close to your peak earning power, you may be able to put in sizable sums every year.  

•  Choose an appropriate withdrawal rate. While it’s obviously important to build your retirement savings, it’s just as essential to make the money last. Once you retire, you’ll want to establish an appropriate withdrawal rate — that is, the amount you can take out each year from your 401(k) and other investments without running the risk of outliving your money. The amount you can safely withdraw each year will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, your account balances, Social Security benefits, inflation, income tax rates and spousal income. In any case, selecting a suitable withdrawal rate can help go a long way toward preserving your financial freedom throughout your retirement. 

•  Think about downsizing. One possible way to boost your savings and add liquidity is to downsize your living arrangements. This may be an attractive option if your children are grown and your current home feels too large. Of course, downsizing is a highly personal decision — if you’ve lived in your home for many years, have fond memories of raising a family in it and still enjoy the neighborhood, it can certainly be hard to leave. Consequently, you’ll need to weigh these emotional factors against the potential financial benefits of moving into a smaller, less expensive space.

•  Prepare for long-term care costs. If you were ever to need some type of long-term care, such as an extended stay in a nursing home, you could face some sizable expenses, most of which may not be covered by Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. And clearly, you would not want to put your grown children in a position where they might feel the need to step in financially. To help avoid this possibility, you may want to consult with a financial professional about addressing these costs through strategies that may be appropriate for your needs. 
These aren’t the only ideas to consider in helping maintain your financial independence and reducing your potential dependence on your family during your retirement years. But taken together, they can give you a good start — so think about putting them to work.

If you would like to discuss your personal situation with a financial advisor contact:

Mark Freeman
Edward Jones Financial Advisor
77 West Main Street,
Hopkinton, MA 


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