CHICAGO, July 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- If you're on the final approach to retirement, you can help assure the success of your "next chapter" with some essential retirement preparation, according to The Mather Group, LLC, an independent financial advisory firm headquartered in Chicago.
For many people, two recent Supreme Court decisions may positively influence their plans to retire this year. The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees access to health care coverage for those who want to retire before they qualify for Medicare at age 65. Second, the Court legalized same-sex marriage, giving same-sex couples the same government benefits – such as Social Security claiming strategies - received by all legally married individuals.
"Both decisions will encourage more people to consider retiring this year," predicts Stewart Mather, CFP, CIMA, head of The Mather Group. "But retiring with confidence depends on your complete financial outlook. You don't want to retire without a plan in place."
A confident retirement depends on preparation:
- Develop a realistic monthly budget for retirement. Track your expenses for up to a year to get an accurate picture of your financial needs. Account for one-time expenses such as that new furnace or roof you may soon need, and note month-to-month fluctuations in expenses. Plan for higher inflation rates for certain types of spending, such as health care and college expenses.
- Develop a comprehensive financial plan. Take an inventory of your assets – the equity in your home and all investments (401K, stocks, savings, life insurance, etc.). Note all projected retirement income streams, such as pensions and Social Security. Your financial planner will complete your plan and should stress-test it using Monte Carlo simulations to see how it performs under changing market conditions.
- Maintain an appropriately diversified portfolio. You should be invested in a combination of fixed income, U.S. stocks, and foreign equities, which is the best way to protect your portfolio from a possible correction. Low-cost indexes such as ETFs are a better option than high-cost mutual funds, which typically add 1 percent in additional management costs.
- Create a cash flow strategy to minimize taxes. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with specialized knowledge of the tax code pertaining to retirement assets can help determine how you should tap your retirement savings to minimize income taxes throughout your retirement.
"You need financial clarity for a successful retirement," Mather says. "A secure future depends on getting solid financial advice from a trusted advisor before you retire."
Fee-only Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) such as The Mather Group are held to the highest fiduciary standard by law, requiring that they only offer guidance and recommendations that are in the best interest of their clients. This isn't true for broker-dealers, who are paid commissions for selling investment products, resulting in potential conflicts of interest.
The Mather Group is a fee-only RIA wealth management advisory focused on guiding corporate executives and professionals into successful retirement. Services offered include investment management, retirement planning, tax and estate planning. The firm has offices in Oak Brook Terrace, IL and Houston, TX.
SOURCE The Mather Group