Carnegie Investment Counsel Blog

Resolve to Prepare: Retirement Planning Conversation Checklist

Posted by Carnegie Investment Counsel on Feb 3, 2022 4:00:00 PM

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Welcome to 2022! The start of the new year is a great time for a retirement planning conversation and to revisit the progress you’ve made so far. We recommend scheduling a meeting with your financial advisor, who can provide in-depth knowledge about what you’ve saved so far and what retirement strategies will work for you going forward.

Retirement planning looks different for everyone, but the basic rule of thumb is that you should plan for 70 to 90 percent of your pre-retirement income. Your financial advisor will walk you through that conversation so that you’re making good progress and staying on your desired retirement schedule. Below, we’ve created a checklist of topics to guide your retirement planning.


Topics if You’re 30-40 Years From Retirement:

  • Investing. The earlier you start, the greater your reward. This is also an excellent time to start building a relationship with a financial advisor, don’t feel you have to wait until retirement is on the horizon. 
  • Balancing student loan debt payoff with retirement contributions and building an emergency fund. It’s a common misconception that you should eliminate student loan debt before worrying about retirement. You should also make sure you’re setting money aside for an emergency fund. 
  • 401(k) contributions and pension plans. What retirement account options does your employer offer? Do these benefits change throughout career growth? What are the repercussions of leaving a job early? Max out whatever contribution percentage match your employer offers; take advantage of this bonus money, which provides the opportunity for growth over many years. 
  • More investment vehicles. At this stage in your life and career, it’s a good idea to discuss other instruments with your advisor such as: 
    • Roth IRAs which are individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) that allow qualified withdrawals on a tax-free basis if certain conditions are met.  
    • Health Savings Accounts (HSA) which allow you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses.
    • IRAs which are savings accounts with tax advantages that individuals can open to save and invest for the long term.
    • 529 plans which are tax-advantaged savings plans, sponsored by state, state agencies and educational institutions designed to encourage saving for future education costs as outlined by section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.


Topics if You’re 20 Years From Retirement:

  • Debt payoff. Prioritize high-interest debt first and work your way down.
  • When you can retire. Calculating a ballpark time will put all the planning into focus, making it easier to create a strategy.
  • IRAs. Start exploring the benefits of contributing to an IRA, Roth IRA and/or 401(k), and see how the tax benefits work out in the long run. (See above.)


Topics if You’re 10 Years From Retirement:

  • Health savings accounts. You can put money in these accounts tax-free, and if you start contributing now without using the funds, you’ll have a considerable amount to use by the time you retire.
  • Estate planning. Revisit your legacy and late-in-life planning. Review your beneficiaries and executors, and consider what assets you currently have and anticipate keeping.
  • Your financial portfolio. Assess what’s performing well and what’s performing poorly in relation to the market.
  • Long-term healthcare needs. How do you anticipate caring for your health and medical care? What are your options for Medicare? Because premiums for long-term insurance get higher the older you are, looking into policies now can help clarify your financial standing moving forward.
  • Retirement lifestyle. How do you envision your retirement years? Will you take it easy, travel, work part-time? Answering these questions will clarify your scope.
  • A target retirement date. Determine which age you’d like to retire in relation to your financial standing and when you’d like to start receiving Social Security benefits.


Topics if You’re 5 Years From Retirement:

  • Income options. Review your earnings history with Social Security, and consider whether you’d like to take on a part-time job to generate additional income in order to increase your Social Security benefits (and possibly delay receiving them).
  • Portfolio review. As you reach closer to your retirement age, it is important to meet with your financial advisor to ensure you are on target to hit your goals. Your advisor can help adjust your strategy to help you stay on track. If you don’t have a financial advisor, no problem, click here to book an appointment to find an advisor that’s right for you. 
  • Asset inventory. What assets do you have in your possession, and how do they fit into your estate planning?
  • Health check. Visit medical professionals to see how your health is faring and see if you need to make any financial adjustments to your plans. 


Topics if You’re 1 Year From Retirement:

  • Employer check-in. Notify your HR department about your retirement intentions and start making a plan for maximizing your tax benefits between your 401(k) and IRAs.
  • Budget. Take a closer look at what and how you’re spending. This is a good time to assess what you actually spend on an annual basis. 
  • Medicare. There are a lot of options out there to suit various needs. 
  • Lump-sum or monthly? If you’ve got a pension, figure out if lump-sum payments or monthly payments are best for you. 


Start the Retirement Planning Conversation

Kick the new year off with peace of mind. Connect with your financial advisor, no matter what stage you’re in, and gain clarity about your retirement planning. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.


Links and Resources:


Need a Retirement Advisor?

If you are currently looking for help with retirement planning, contact us. We are happy to schedule an introductory meeting at your convenience.

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Topics: Retirement Planning

Carnegie Investment Counsel

Written by Carnegie Investment Counsel

Carnegie Investment Counsel is an Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) providing personalized financial guidance to help you preserve and grow your wealth, so you are freer to enjoy your life. As your fiduciary, we are obligated to place your investing success ahead of our returns.

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