First, now that May is upon us, we’re moving into a different mode. We have a few clients on extension (and with whom we will continue to correspond), but our attention is now focused on other matters: tax planning (more about that soon), working with businesses, and other individuals with year-round concerns.
Secondly — did you see the news about President Trump’s proposed tax reform?
Big stuff, if it passes … but it faces a skeptical Congress (including some in his own party who have deficit worries), a public who isn’t quite sure if it will happen, and, of course, the lobbyists for various interest groups who don’t want to see their particular favorite deductions go up in smoke.
If there is actual legislative progress on these proposals, I’ll be sure to keep you posted — in the meantime, I suggest you adopt *my* policy on such things: look for the actual action, not the PR. We’ll see what happens, if in fact something does.
Future-casting is always a little tricky, I’ve found, when it comes to financial questions. The “numbers”, of course, are fairly easy for me or someone on my team to get a handle on. But when thinking about retirement, in particular, there are many things beyond the numbers to consider.
And I’m not convinced many financial advisors take all of it into consideration.
“Real World” Personal Strategy Note
Living Out Your Retirement in Advance
“Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule.” -Samuel Butler
People over 40 shouldn’t just plan for retirement, they should rehearse for it. Because retirement can last 20 to 30 years, it’s more important than ever that “pre-retirees” (those who plan to retire in five to seven years) practice how they want to live without work as the organizational focus of their lives by doing some of the following:
Try out different retirement lifestyles.
For example, many people dream of selling the family home and traveling in an RV or going abroad. Practice this by renting a camper and going on the road for a long vacation. You may discover that travel is exhausting or boring to you.
The same holds true for relocation dreams. Rent a home where you think you may want to retire to see if it really is where you’d like to move. The weather may not suit you, or the community may not be your cup of tea. Work out these details before you commit to an expensive change.
Live with your spouse 24 hours a day.
Most couples spend much of their early years working and, thus, spending much of their time apart. It may take some time to get used to the other person’s schedule, habits, and routines.
Practice living on that retirement budget.
Most retirees’ income is significantly less than their pre-retirement income. Add up all the Social Security benefits, pension income, 401(k) and IRA savings to calculate what you can realistically expect to live on each month. Then live on that amount for a month to determine what changes, if any, you need to make to your plans.
We will continue to keep you informed as changes in tax reform move along.
Valerie McLaughlin, EA