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Four Retirement Questions to Ask Yourself in Your 50s


If you make a first visit to an estate planning lawyer when you are in your 50s, the lawyer might tell you that it is impossible to make a satisfactory estate plan without first thinking about how you plan to manage for finances during retirement.  This is what estate planning lawyers mean when we say that estate planning is about planning for life instead of planning for death.  By your 50s, you are so used to working and being a breadwinner for your family that it can be hard to think about your finances from any other perspective.  In some ways, life gets less expensive after you retire, and in other ways, it gets more expensive.  If you will be ready to retire in the next ten to twenty years, these are some important questions to discuss with your Orange County estate planning lawyer.

The Four W’s of Retirement Planning

Before you can have any accurate prediction of how much money you need to save for retirement, you must ask yourself, and ask your spouse, these four important questions:

  • When? – Do you plan to retire on your 65th birthday? Do you love your career so much that you want to stay at your current position for as long as your health allows?  In general, you should save for retirement as if you are going to live 100 years, but whether you will stop getting a salary at age 65 or age 85 makes a difference.  Keep in mind that not everyone completely drops out of the workforce completely after retiring from a salaried position; pursuing a retirement career is an option.
  • Where? – Do you plan to stay in Florida year-round, or will you spend part of the year up north, camping in an RV, or sailing on a sailboat? You will have to adjust your projected expenses according to these expectations.  Even if you stay in the Orlando area, do you plan to move to a smaller home?  (Downsizing your house costs more than you think it does.)
  • What? – Not knowing how to occupy your time in retirement can be a major problem, big enough to harm your physical and mental health. Will you spend your days auditing art classes at the community college, playing golf at the country club, or volunteering at church, to name just a few ways that people stay socially connected in retirement?  You cannot make detailed financial plans until you have an idea of what you will spend your time (and money) doing.
  • What if? – Plan for a healthy retirement, but save money for one with more medical expenses than you ever had during your working years. Here, health savings accounts and long-term care insurance are a great help.

Only after you consider these questions can you decide about details like giving cash gifts to your children every year.

Let Us Help You Today

An Orlando estate planning lawyer can help you think first about the big picture and then about the details of your finances.  Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. for help with your case.





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