January is Retirement Planning Awareness Month

For much of the 20th century, retirement in America was traditionally defined in terms of its relationship to participation in the active work force. An indiviudal would work full-time until a certain age then leave employment to spend a few years quietly rocking on the front porch.

Decling health often made retirement short and unpleasant. Retirement planning typically focused on saving enough to quarantee minimal survival for a relatively brief period of time. 

More recently, many individuals are begining to recongonize that for a number of reasons, this traditional view of retirement is no longer accurate. Many common issues associated with retirmeent, such as poor health or the need to provide income, still exist. Planning for longer life, however involves addressing problems not faced by earlier generations. Some of these key isssues include:

 

  • Paying for retirement: Providng a steady income is often the key problem involved in retirement planning. Longer life spans raise the issue of the impact of inflation on fixed follar payments as well as the possibility of outliving accumlated personal savings. 
  • Health care: The health benefits provided through the federal governents Medicare program are generally considered to be only a foundation. Health care planning also may involve establishing a health care proxy (naming someone else to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitaed) and a living will, which expresses your final wishes. 
  • Estate planning: Retirement planning must take into consideration what happens to an individual's assets after retirement is over. Estate planning should ensure not only those assets are transferred to the individuals or organizations chosen by the owner, but also that the transfer is done with the least amount of tax. 
  • Housing: This question involves not only the size and type of home (condo, house, shared housing, assisted living), but also its location. Such factos as climate and proximity to close family members and medical care are often important. 
  • Lifestyle: Some individuals, accustomed to a busy work life, find it difficult to enjoy the freedom offered by retirement. Planning ahead can make this transition easier. 

Developing a successful retirement plan involves carefully consifering a wide range of issues and potential problems. Finding solutions to these questions often requires personal education and the guidance of knowledge professionals from various professional disciplines.

 

The key is to begin planning as easly as possible. The financial professionals at the Morris Group have the experience and knowledge to help you in this process. 

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