Life Event Guide
Life Events Guide
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The good news about retirement is that advances in science, technology, and living standards have led to a longer life expectancies for most Americans. You can expect to spend more years in retirement than did previous generations, which means more time with family and friends and more time to achieve your lifelong aspirations.
Remember to include your family in your retirement planning. They need to know your wishes, especially in regard to topics such as long-term care. Your family can be a great resource for further information and, more importantly, of support.
Good planning will help you avoid the pitfalls that many retirees face, giving you peace of mind as well as a greater probability of a comfortable retirement.
- The normal retirement age is 65, but a pension can be drawn earlier with or without reductions based on a variety of criteria. Please visit these sections
to understand how the combination of your age and vesting affects the amount of pension you can receive at your desired retirement age.
- Retiree Health coverage is available. A Participant is eligible for one year of Retiree Eligibility for each 1,500 hours on which contributions were made on his behalf to the Health and Welfare Fund.
- If you plan to return to work in the industry on either a part or full-time basis, be sure to review the rules starting with the Life Event titled Return to Work After Retirement. Both Pension and Health benefits can be suspended or otherwise affected by any such work.
One of the greatest risks for you as a person retiring today is considered to be the danger that you may outlive your assets. This is because of several factors: inflation, increased longevity, hyperinflation of medical expenses, and the costs of long term care if you survive into your 80’s and 90’s. Unlike Social Security, your pension benefits do not increase with inflation. So, you need to carefully determine how long you can financially support your desired lifestyle in retirement. You may want to get professional assistance in making this determination from someone like a Certified Financial Planner or other financial professional.
As you make withdrawals from your retirement savings, carefully plan to do so in a way that minimizes your taxes. Withdrawals from tax-advantaged accounts (401/IRA, SEP, KEOUGH, etc. ) may be arranged so that they take advantage of continued tax free build up. Withdrawals are generally taxable events, and it is usually best to delay and minimize such withdrawals as much as possible.
Periodically review how your assets are allocated between various categories such as stocks, bonds, real estate and cash (e.g., money market) accounts. Studies have shown that investors have a “short memory” and invest as if the economy of the last 1-3 years will continue into the indefinite future. But in fact, the economy and elements of it such as inflation, stock market returns, and interest rates can be subject to much fluctuation. Since it is likely that both inflation rates and investment returns will vary considerably over the course of your retirement, it pays to have the assets which are under your control diversified in a prudent way. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and don’t assume that inflation will remain moderate forever.
Make sure you understand the health care benefits currently offered by your and your spouse’s plans and how they affect your eligibility. Be aware that benefits under this plan are not vested and could, under certain circumstances be reduced, changed or even eliminated. The years just prior to Medicare eligibility are generally the most expensive for private health insurance.
Coordinate the receipt of your Social Security with your plans for any work after retirement and other sources of income. The assistance of a financial professional may help you to figure the optimal time to begin taking Social Security given your individual circumstances. Note that the age at which you can draw unreduced Social Security ranges from age 65 to age 67 based on your date of birth. If you delay taking Social Security till after your normal age, the amount you receive will increase.
As you plan how you will spend your time in retirement, consider part-time work and volunteer work, but be aware of the rules affecting your pension if you return to work in covered employment. Part time work can be very helpful in preserving your retirement assets.
Think about what you are going to do with your house, if you have one, and where you will live. Learn the tax consequences of selling a house, and also consider the expense and effort involved if you continue to live in your house into advanced old age.
Also think about how you plan to spend your time in retirement. Some hobbies and pursuits, take international travel as an example, can be expensive to pursue. How will you keep busy, maintain a healthy social life, and stay busy. These are good things to consider carefully well before you actually retire.
Financial planners recommend that if you have not already done so, that at retirement you should update a number of personal plans and documents. Here is a checklist of some items which you may need to update, revise, or consider: