Investing for retirement and beyond

Part two of two

Last month we discussed retirement planning for the decade before retirement. This month, we continue with planning for retirement and post-retirement.


Many boomers experiment with a trial retirement before we pull the plug. Perhaps we take a short leave or work part-time. Most importantly, we test the type of lifestyle we plan for our post-retirement years. A trial retirement allows us to examine how our expenses will change and whether we’ll be able to fill our time in meaningful ways. It also increases the likelihood that we can reach retirement in reasonably good health and financial shape.

Check in with a financial advisor, especially if you’ve been a do-it-yourselfer for all these years. Ask her or his opinion regarding the buckets, and whether you are allocated well for your goals.

If you are very fiscally conservative, you might consider purchasing an annuity at this point. An immediate annuity is not loaded with as many extraneous commissions and fees as other types and gives the comfort of monthly income in exchange for flexibility in investing your own funds.

However, it is only as safe as the insurance company from which it’s purchased.

A decade into retirement.

The first years of retirement are akin to childhood: we want to try on various activities to see what brings us satisfaction without breaking our budgets. We also want to husband our funds in case something drastic happens during this time.

Once you’ve successfully navigated a decade or so into retirement, more aggressive investors may be ready to try some new things. Perhaps you want to buy into a company with which you’ve had an ongoing relationship. Maybe you want to purchase a franchise or invest in start-ups as an angel investor. In these cases, your first step would be to understand how much money you can afford to put at risk. A financial advisor can help answer this important question. Lean in towards what you love, because that’s the only way you’ll have stamina to persevere.

Ideally we have settled into a lifestyle that fits. We will have figured out, perhaps with an accountant or a financial advisor, how to efficiently withdraw from our various buckets for the least tax consequence. Across our portfolios, we will have diversified across large and small companies and industries.

At this point, if we are comfortable and willing, we may increase the percentage of our portfolios we hold in the market. We may also have particular goals in our investing, such as ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria. That way, our investments work for others and the earth as well as for us.

As our ages and interests change, we may have curtailed travel and hobbies. We may divert those funds to supporting causes that are important. Whichever way we approach our later years, they won’t last forever. If we can approach the ends our lives appreciative of our relationships and thankful for the opportunities we’ve had, we will have been successful with our bottom lines.

Karen Telleen-Lawton is a Certified Financial Planner in Santa Barbara, Calif.

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