Estate Planning

7 Retirement Strategies to Retire Successfully

By Paul Manger

June 19, 2020

Hopefully, this list of strategies will give you a great place to start if you’re getting ready to retire or just curious about preparing for retirement. Our goal is to provide you with simple yet effective retirement strategies that do not only focus on investment tactics or savings percentages. Instead, we hope to give you a toolbox of strategies for retirement with which you can combine to build the retirement of your dreams.

With that, let’s get to work and discuss 7 Retirement Strategies to Retire Successfully.

Retirement Strategies - Financial Planner

Retirement Strategy #1: Get a trusted Financial Planner

Let me ask you a few questions: Do you trust your primary care physician? What about your dentist? How’s your relationship with your mechanic? Hopefully, your answers were all positive. My point is, we have trusted professionals in many categories delivering services when we aren’t able to do things alone.

You might be thinking, “But I can invest for retirement on my own.” While we have no doubts about that, retiring isn’t just about your investments. There are other implications outside of investments and savings when it comes to strategies for retirement. We’re going to cover some of those implications in this article today.

You’re the Owner of Your Team

Think of retirement in terms of a football team, and you’re the owner. As the owner, you don’t personally coach the team, draft the players, or even play on game day. Instead, you have a head coach, a general manager, offensive and defensive coordinators, players, and many more who support your ultimate goal of winning the championship, or in this case, retiring successfully.

In this case, as the owner, you surround yourself with trusted professionals along the way. Having a financial planner as the head coach or your retirement can help coordinate your finances between other professionals like CPAs and attorneys. As you prepare to retire, you need to make many difficult decisions. With a financial planner you can trust by your side you can navigate these choices more adeptly. 

According to a 2013 white paper from Morningstar called Alpha, Beta, and Now…Gamma, having a financial planner who practices specific financial planning techniques, can produce up to 22.6% more income in retirement per year. That’s regardless of the underlying investments. These retirement strategies and financial planning techniques bring together multiple facets of retirement. If that’s not an eye-opening statistic on why you need a financial planner, I’m not sure what is.

Retirement Strategy #2: Make Goals for Retirement

This seems simple enough, right? Think about what you want to do in retirement. Do you want to travel? What about spending more time with the family? Maybe you’ll want to downsize your home or move to an entirely new city. Whatever you choose to do in retirement, make sure you relay it to your financial planner. If they don’t know what you want to do with your retirement savings in the first place, how can they make a successful retirement plan for you?

It’s not just the big things you’ll need to think about, either. While buying or selling a home is something you want to discuss with your financial planner, you should also talk about smaller things. Things like how often you and your partner will need new vehicles. When will you need to replace the roof again? Are you planning to pay for any child’s or grandchild’s educational expenses?

Discuss these things with your financial planner so your plan can address your specific needs. After all, it is supposed to be your retirement plan, not just a cookie-cutter ideal of retirement. If your financial planner doesn’t know your goals for retirement, your plan’s strategies may not be the right fit.

Retirement Strategies - CPA and Financial Planner

Retirement Strategy #3: Build a Multi-Year Tax Planning Strategy

Often overlooked in retirement, tax reduction strategies that consider taxes over multiple years are among the most valuable retirement income strategies on this list. Our CPAs have the added benefit of understanding your goals for retirement alongside financial planners. This enables them to create a multi-year tax strategy that can reduce your overall tax burden.

No one likes overpaying taxes, but many don’t even know it when they are—especially considering the misconception that you’ll be in a lower tax bracket in retirement. This just isn’t the case in all situations. It just makes sense to have a tax plan aligned with your goals for retirement.

Tax planning consider other factors, such as required minimum distributions, Social Security, and charitable donations. And not to mention new implications for beneficiaries of IRAs under the new SECURE Act. Simply put, while you might be able to maintain your investment plan, navigating the tax code in retirement is a whole different can of worms. Having a financial planner and CPA working together to build a retirement strategy can help you pay less taxes and achieve your goals for retirement.

Retirement Strategy #4: Have a Plan for Claiming Social Security

Social Security is your money. After years of working and paying into the system, it’s your turn to claim what’s rightfully yours. So, you just go to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and start claiming your money, and the SSA employees will guide you through the best way for you to get the most out of your benefits, right?

Even Social Security Administration Employees Might Not Know

Big nope. Dean Barber likes to tell a story about him presenting one of our Social Security workshops and an attendee who was avidly taking notes. She ended up sticking around until the end, and everyone had left. She confidently approached Dean and told him, “I work at the SSA, and I’m sorry, but you can’t do any of these claiming strategies you discussed tonight. I’ve never heard about any of it before.”

Dean let her know that you absolutely can use the strategies since he does it with his clients. He then asked her to ask her superiors at the SSA and let him know what she finds out. After a while, she returned and explained that she had to go through multiple levels of management before she confirmed that you could, in fact, utilize the claiming strategies Dean presented.

Maximizing Your Social Security

A 2019 study found that 96% of retirees are leaving up to $111,000 per household behind by claiming Social Security at the suboptimal time. That means only 4% of individuals retiring are getting the most out of their Social Security benefits. You need a claiming strategy to maximize your Social Security so you can maximize your retirement potential.

Retirement Strategy #5: Don’t Forget About Insurance

Risk management, or insurance, is one of the Four Pillars of Retirement alongside taxes, estate planning, and investments. Often overlooked, insurance is a vital part of a retirement plan, and there are many factors to consider.

Property and Casualty

You need to make sure you aren’t underinsured or over-insured from a property and casualty perspective. No one wants to pay for unnecessary policies. Likewise, no one wants to be caught without enough insurance when they need it. Understanding the proper balance in your situation is a valuable retirement strategy.

Health Care & Medicare

Projected health care costs in the United States show an increase of 5.5% year over year for the next decade. Now, if that’s not something you need to plan for, I’m not sure what is. The reality is that everyone will need health care at some point. And when we age, our bodies diminish and we in-turn use more health care than previously. Prescriptions are more prevalent as we age as well, and medications aren’t free. Making sure you have the necessary coverage for your needs is paramount to a successful retirement.

Medicare is at the disposal of most retired Americans, and it’s a valuable resource for health care coverage. However, it’s not the most straightforward benefit to understand. Not to fear, though! Dean Barber and Medicare Expert Tom Allen have done thee episodes of our podcast The Guided Retirement Show. They discuss Medicare costs, options, and coverages in a two-part series as well as Medicare supplement plans in a third episode. Give them a listen if you have questions about Medicare. You’ll find the episodes below. 

Other considerations include long-term care and life insurance. Our financial planners work directly with Medicare and insurance experts to make sure you’re properly covered. It’s just another one of the strategies we use for building a proper retirement plan.


Medicare Episodes of The Guided Retirement Show

Understanding Medicare Options, Costs, and Coverage Pt. 1 Understanding Medicare Options, Costs, and Coverage Pt. 2 Medicare Supplement Plans, A Closer Look


Retirement Strategies - Estate Planning Attorney

Retirement Strategy #6: Keep Your Estate Plan Current

Family is essential to most of us. Developing a plan for your estate is something you do more for your loved ones than for yourself. So, when you think about how much life can change in a short amount of time, it’s important to keep your estate plan updated. You should review your plan every few years at the least to make sure you and your family have what they need in the event you pass on.

We’ve all been there when a family member passes away. I’m sure some of you have dealt with nightmarish legal and financial issues in the wake of a death in the family. Instead of focusing on what truly matters, grieving and memorializing, your attention is directed to the minutiae of the estate. Keeping your estate updated is a gift that will keep on giving in your absence.

The SECURE Act & Stretch IRAs

The SECURE Act was snuck into legislation in late 2019 under the noses of most Americans. Touted for the good thing it does by pushing required minimum distributions (RMDs) to age 72 from 70 ½.

In reality, there are sneaky provisions that limit the powerful tools used in estate planning. The Stretch IRA is now limited to a 10-year spend down. That means unless you leave your legacy to a specific type of eligible beneficiary, most beneficiaries will have to withdraw the entire inheritance within ten years. The problem that arises here is now your beneficiaries may have an incredible new and unavoidable tax burden from these withdrawals.

Fortunately, there are ways of mitigating this with proper estate, tax, and insurance planning. If you haven’t made an effort to get your estate plan updated for the SECURE Act, you should consider it. Retirement strategies need to be fluid to move around changes like the SECURE Act. You need to adjust your plan to law changes like this so you know that your plan’s strategies are still effective for retirement. We recently did an expert roundtable discussion on the SECURE Act bringing together an estate planning attorney, CPA, financial planner, and insurance expert. Give that a watch for more information. 

Retirement Strategy #7: Have a Plan for Retirement

It seems like a cop-out, but at the end of the day, many people don’t have a plan at all. According to an article from Forbes in 2019, 26% of Americans age 30-44 have no retirement savings. Follow this with 17% ages 45-59, and 13% for those over 60 also have no retirement savings. That only considers the savings part of the equation we haven’t even considered preparedness.

That same article states, “When it comes to self-assessed preparedness for retirement by age, less than half of people aged 60 and over think that their savings are on track. Unsurprisingly, younger Americans are even more pessimistic, with only 42% of people aged 45-59 and 35% of those aged 30-44 feeling prepared.”

So, what do those people need? They need a plan with strategies for retirement that consider all of the things discussed above! They need clarity, confidence, and control in their retirement. If you’re reading this today and feel uneasy about your plans to retire, find a trusted financial planner who works alongside other industry professionals. Together they can provide you with a well-rounded plan for retirement that utilizes these strategies to help you achieve the retirement you desire.

If this approach to retirement is something you’re interested in, we’re always ready to talk. Give us a call at 913-393-1000 or fill out the form below and we will contact you.

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Investment advisory services offered through Barber Financial Group, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Barber Financial Group an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Barber Financial Group does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.