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How to Financially Plan for Retirement – Quick Reference Guide

1. Know Your Expenses:

A retirement plan without clear budgets is like a road trip without a GPS. Compile a list of current expenses as your starting point. Add in likely healthcare costs and desired activities like travel and hobbies. Adjust estimates higher to account for inflation. Don’t neglect potential big-ticket items like home repairs. Your comprehensive understanding of your expenses and setting a budget become the financial roadmap for your retirement plan.

2. Understand Your Retirement Accounts:

Begin understanding your retirement accounts holistically by listing all your retirement accounts and their current balances. Familiarize yourself with the withdrawal rules, potential penalties, and minimum required distributions. 

  1. Check Social Security Benefits:

You can log into your Social Security account online to get benefit estimates. It’s crucial to understand how the age you claim affects your monthly payouts. Spousal benefits can also play a role in your decision. Stay informed about any changes to Social Security and incorporate other income when determining when to claim.

4. Consult a Financial Advisor:

Start by researching potential financial advisors or seeking recommendations. Once you’ve found a potential match, schedule an initial consultation to discuss your retirement aspirations. Regular check-ins will ensure your plan stays on track. It’s crucial to select an advisor familiar with scenarios like yours and to provide them a complete picture of your financial standing, including all assets and liabilities. 

5. Know Your Investments:

Take a look at your current investment portfolio and consider what you have. Is it made up of stocks, bonds, real estate, and others. Review why you got those and do they fit your overall plans. As retirement approaches, adjusting risk levels becomes important. It’s a good practice to review your portfolio annually and seek your financial advisor’s guidance when planning specific investment strategies. There are some financial vehicles without market risk which allow you to avoid losses due to market fluctuations. 

6. Set Up Steady Income Streams:

Review potential annuity options and dividend-paying investments that can offer consistent income. Real estate or other cashflowing ventures are also worth considering. The key is to strengthen your income sources and regularly monitor them against your living expenses.

7. Health Insurance and Medicare:

Navigating the world of health insurance in retirement starts with understanding Medicare and its various components. Determine your enrollment period and consider any supplemental insurance plans. For those retiring before age 65, researching alternate health insurance options is essential. Always set aside a budget for unforeseen healthcare costs.

8. Reserves:

Having a financial safety net is essential. Decide on a target amount, typically 12 months of expenses, and set up a dedicated account. Contribute regularly and adjust the target as your lifestyle evolves. This fund should remain reserved for genuine emergencies.

9. Revisit Your Estate Plan:

An updated estate plan ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Review all pertinent documents like wills, powers of attorney, and beneficiary designations. For more intricate estates, consider establishing a trust. Always keep heirs and beneficiaries informed about your estate plans.

10. Stay Financially Educated:

Continuous learning keeps you up-to-date on financial developments. Subscribe to trusted financial news sources, attend retirement-focused seminars, and read pertinent books. Engaging in online retiree communities can offer fresh perspectives. Also, ask your financial advisor for valuable educational resources, as they know your situation best.

11. Regularly Review and Adjust:

Set aside time annually to revisit your retirement strategy. Adjust for significant life events, review your investments, and update any expense estimates. These reviews are also an excellent opportunity to touch base with your financial advisor and make necessary tweaks.

13. Discuss with Family:

Open communication is key when retirement impacts loved ones. Share your vision and discuss decisions that might affect them. Seek their perspective on significant choices and ensure they’re aware of your estate plan’s basics. Regular updates will keep everyone aligned and informed.

  • How do you feel about my retirement plans?
  • Are there any concerns or hopes you have regarding my retirement?
  • What are your thoughts on our family potentially relocating during my retirement?
  • How can we ensure that we maintain close family ties even if my retirement choices lead to changes?
  • Are you familiar with the basics of my estate plan and do you have any questions about it?


Planning for a financially secure retirement requires advance preparation across many areas, including budgeting, maximizing retirement accounts, establishing diverse income streams, and continuously reviewing and adjusting your strategy. Working with a financial advisor and communicating with your family will help ensure your retirement vision stays on track while building emergency savings and staying educated provides protection against the unexpected. Diligent planning today allows you to pursue the retirement lifestyle you desire confidently.

Are you looking to refine your retirement plan? Reach out to M Wealth Group for a free consultation to review your retirement strategy. Or visit our website at

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the $1000 a month rule for retirement?

A: The $1000 a month rule suggests that for every $1000 of monthly income you want in retirement, you need to have $240,000 saved. This is based on the 4% withdrawal rate, where you withdraw 4% of your retirement savings during your first year of retirement and adjust that amount for inflation in subsequent years.

There are retirement vehicles, such as annuities that can give you a guaranteed stream of income for the rest of your life. Some can have inflation adjustment features. 

Q: What is a good financial plan for retirement?

A: A good financial plan for retirement typically involves:

  • Setting clear retirement goals and envisioning the desired lifestyle.
  • Estimating expected expenses in retirement, including healthcare and leisure.
  • Saving and investing diligently in tax-advantaged accounts.
  • Handling risk effectively
  • Planning for potential long-term care needs.
  • Ensuring proper insurance coverage, including health and life.
  • Regularly reviewing and adjusting the plan, especially after major life events.

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