Financial Corner: Planning for retirement

Larry Sidney / Special to the Tribune

When I talk with different people about retirement, there’s only one thing they all have in common: they want to retire someday. From “yesterday, if I could” to “when I no longer enjoy what I’m doing,” retirement timing runs the gamut. But regardless of when you want to retire, you should start planning ahead to make sure that your retirement is what you want it to be.

There are two types of things that will happen between now and your retirement: things that you can control, and things that you can’t control.

Right now, it may feel like there’s a lot that you can’t control. Inflation remains significantly elevated over the historical norm of 2%, reducing the spending power of your money. Mortgage rates are double what they were in 2021. Unexpected car, home and medical expenses can pop up at any time. Dare I mention politics? Ukraine and Russia?

So how the heck are you supposed to plan for retirement?

First, focus on the things that you can control. Some of those may be:

  • How long you are going to work.
  • How much money you save each year.
  • Choosing to use retirement accounts to gain tax advantages and matching funds.
  • What you choose to spend (and not spend) money on each year.
  • Having appropriate insurances to reduce risk, for both property and life.

Once you build a plan using the things that you can control, you can build in contingencies to mitigate risk for the things that you can’t control. Having an emergency fund, usually recommended as keeping three to six months of expenses in cash or a safely invested, liquid account, is one way to reduce financial risk.

That much gets you to retirement. The next part of your plan needs to get you through retirement. How will you (and a partner, if you have one) support yourself from retirement through death?

You’ll want a good understanding of how Social Security and Medicare work. Did you know that people with higher income in retirement pay more for Medicare and get taxed more on their Social Security? You will also want a plan for which sources of income to use in which order. Your IRA? Your Roth IRA? Your investment account? Money in the bank? The way that you use these accounts can have a significant impact on your taxes.

Planning for retirement can be a complex process. Either take the time to educate yourself and do it right or work with a skilled financial professional, or else you could end up with a very uncomfortable financial situation in retirement.

Larry Sidney is a Zephyr Cove-based Investment Advisor Representative. Information is found at or by calling 775-299-4600 ex. 702. This is not a solicitation to buy or sell securities. Clients may hold positions mentioned in this article. Past Performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial advisor before purchasing any security.

Larry Sidney

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