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What Should I Be Doing As I Transition Into Retirement?

By Ben Harvey

Are you approaching retirement but feeling concerned that you’re not adequately prepared? Do you have questions about retirement but don’t know who to ask? If so, you’re not alone. Research shows that 3 out of 4 older Americans fail a retirement income literacy quiz. (1)

This statistic is alarming, but it’s not too late to start preparing for this next big transition. As life expectancies increase and people are living longer, your retirement could last upwards of two or three decades. It’s important to be prepared so that you:

  • Know what to expect

  • Have a plan for emergencies

  • Maximize your opportunities

  • Keep more of your retirement income

Here are 4 tips to help you start preparing for retirement, so you can retire with confidence.

1. Visualize Your Life In Retirement

One of the most challenging aspects of retirement is actually the emotional transition. Many people aren’t prepared to handle the “culture shock” they experience in their new day-to-day reality after decades in the workforce. You now have hours of unfilled time, which can be disorienting and lead to feelings of disillusionment and unfulfillment.

To better prepare for these emotional challenges, start visualizing and planning what retirement is going to look like for you. Examine how you’re going to stay connected socially, what you’ll do recreationally to fill and enjoy your time, and remember to be patient with yourself. But don’t forget to discuss your vision with your spouse! It’s important to be on the same page, especially if your spouse will be home with you.

2. Prepare For Changing Priorities

Your focus around money changes in retirement. Understanding how your focus will change is an important step to start planning how you’ll address your priorities. Your focus will shift from “how much am I saving” and “how much am I earning on my investments” to “how do I recreate a paycheck in retirement.” It’s important to efficiently coordinate your retirement nest egg distributions with your Social Security election. Be sure to evaluate your various Social Security claiming strategies and formulate the best one for your situation. If you didn’t know you needed a Social Security claiming strategy, now is the time to start thinking about it.

You’ll also need to assess your opportunities for tax efficiency. You may have opportunities for tax efficiency during retirement, which also means you could pay more taxes if you don’t strategize effectively. For both Social Security and your tax situation, it’s time to begin segmenting your assets to support your ideal strategies.

3. Err On The Side Of Caution

The worst-case scenario in retirement planning is that you’ll outlive your income sources. In fact, 96% of pre-retirees report feeling concerned over their financial futures. (2) For this reason, you need to err on the side of caution. Consider your longevity by using research-backed longevity calculators, looking to your family history, and getting advice from a financial advisor.

Your retirement plan should help you cover your needs in case you live a long life. Erring on the side of caution—such as planning for medical costs and long-term care needs—will help you know the amount you need to save as well as the rate of return you need your investments to produce. The risks of outliving your retirement income are devastating; planning ahead now will provide you with significant peace of mind.

4. Work With A Trusted Financial Advisor

Above all, you should be working with a trusted financial advisor, especially if you’re getting close to retirement. A trusted and reputable financial advisor can help answer your questions, define and implement your strategies, and evaluate your ongoing plan to make sure it’s moving you toward your goals as you get closer to retirement.

If you’d like to partner with a financial advisor who has been helping pre-retirees make the transition to retirement since 2013, give us at Pathway Financial Planning a call at 765-698-5121 or send us an email at If you’d like more information first, check out this video to learn more about what we do and how we can help you make this a smooth transition.

About Ben

Ben Harvey is president and senior financial planner at Pathway Financial Planning, Inc., an independent, comprehensive financial planning firm that prioritizes the client, each and every time. Ben spends his days staying on top of what’s going on in his clients lives, coordinating the financial planning process, helping people identify their goals, and evaluating whether they are on track. He designs and implements customized strategies all as part of the proprietary process, The Path to Purpose FORMula™. Ben has 15 years of experience in the financial industry, including years as a loan officer, trust officer, and financial advisor, and provides a unique skill set of business management, retail lending, estate and trust administration and planning, comprehensive financial planning, and wealth management.

Outside of work, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife, Mandy, and their children, Cooper and Claire. They are active in their church, and especially love traveling, hosting friends and family, going to amateur sporting events (especially high school basketball and swimming), and experiencing different cultures. On occasion, you can find Ben playing golf, sometimes in amateur tournaments, which he credits for teaching him patience. He will also tackle the occasional home improvement project, read non-fiction, and watch documentaries. Through experience and “honey-do lists,” Ben has learned to never start a project he’s not ready to finish. To learn more about Ben, connect with him on LinkedIn. You can also register for his recent webinar, Retire with Purpose: An Easy Strategy to Simplify Your Distributions.




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