You’ve spent countless hours strategizing your savings and role-playing retirement scenarios. Then the big day arrives. Your bank account suddenly has more money than you are used to and a new lifestyle to go with it. Managing your retirement accounts is different when you actually start to withdraw the cash. There are a few ways to properly use funds after entering this new stage of life.
Not everyone’s bank statement looks the same and not everyone has a planned expiration date. Still, there are withdrawal guidelines based on how much money a retiree has saved and how long they want to stretch out the savings. The guessing is less tricky than it sounds. As a general rule, a 20-25 year retirement requires a four to five percent annual withdrawal rate. Retirements estimated at 30 years or more have a smaller three to four percent rate. Withdrawing less at the beginning is better. Charles Schwab recommends an initial withdrawal on the low end. As time passes, inflation rises and withdrawals grow alongside it. Noting annual inflation can help a retiree adjust their withdrawal rate.
The Later The Better
Taking out money now means less money later. Plus, early withdrawals have pesky tax penalties. Leaving investments like IRAs and 401ks to grow will create a larger pot once a retiree becomes 70 ½ and is forced to take out the cash. The financial market will also affect withdrawals. Since it is looking gloomy, withdrawing at a lower rate or excluding inflation will keep savings safe.
You have reached the ultimate savings finish line. But it isn’t over yet. A modest budget, which retirees should be living by, allows for some more saving. The extra money can be used to invest in CDs, bond mutual funds and plain old bonds that generate extra retirement income.
Stay Debt Free
Entering retirement debt free is the way to go. Keeping it that way is just as important. Buying a home or car may seem like an investment, but when you don’t have enough money for the purchase, it is a sinister scam. Retirement debt in a mortgage or credit cards makes managing retirement horrific. You are already expected to live on a smaller income, so ad extra bills and you have a disaster. The Employee Benefit Research Institute charts the rising level of elderly debt, which is a factor in the nation’s low retirement satisfaction rate. If everyone else jumped off a retirement debt bridge, would you?