Retirement Planning Basics

Having a comprehensive retirement plan is one of the most important ways to help ensure financial freedom.

Your Financial Strategy

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The financial services industry is bursting with ideas on creating a retirement plan, but these recommendations can vary widely based on your age, risk tolerance, bank-account size, access to Social Security or other personal details.

With so many options, how do you know the best strategy for you?

Fisher Investments can help. We work to understand your unique financial situation and investment goals to build an easy-to-understand, comprehensive retirement plan tailored to you. Our retirement planning experts help you build a customized plan and keep you on course to achieve your goals.

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See Our Investment Guides

The world of investing can seem like a giant maze. Fisher Investments has developed several informational and educational guides tackling a variety of investing topics.

  • Your Investment Adviser
  • Set Your Retirement Goals
  • Create Your Retirement Plan
  • Investing for Your Retirement
  • Approaching Retirement
  • Investing After Retirement
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Your Investment Adviser

Investors often need help to reach their goals. There are many types of financial service professionals, but how do you know whom to trust? Here’s what to look for in trusted financial partner.

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Set Your Retirement Goals

Successful retirement planning depends on establishing your financial goals. Maybe you want to maintain your current lifestyle, increase your wealth or just avoid running out of money. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

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Create Your Retirement Plan

Planning for retirement can be easier when you know what your options are and how to customize a plan to your specific situation.

Investing For Your Retirement

Investing for retirement often means striking the right balance. You need to find the mix of risk and reward that gives you the best chance of reaching your retirement goals.

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Approaching Retirement

A comfortable retirement often means understanding how you will generate income and manage your finances once you retire.

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Investing After Retirement

Even after you’ve retired, your money will still have to work hard for you. Learn ways to manage your retirement savings responsibly to help ensure it lasts.

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Your Investment Adviser

Retirement planning can be stressful. Investors often need guidance to develop a plan that can achieve their goals. There are plenty of financial service professionals—including brokers, financial planners, retirement advisers, and others—who claim to be able to help. But with so many voices, how do you know whom to trust? And how do you know you’re paying for the right advice?

Fisher Investments helps make retirement planning easy. We offer straightforward advice with no hidden fees. We structure our fee so we do better when you do better.

Learn more about what to look for—and look out for—when hiring an investment professional here.

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Set Your Retirement Goals

Establishing your financial goals is the first step to successful retirement planning. Everyone has unique goals, but most fit into a few broad categories:

  • Avoid running out of money: This is a number-one priority—and number-one fear—for many. Being forced to go back to work or turn to children for income during retirement can be a source of anxiety for current and future retirees.

  • Maintain or improve lifestyle: People work hard for their retirement and want to enjoy it. As such, a common goal for many is to maintain—or better yet, improve—their circumstances during retirement.

  • Increase wealth: Some folks are able to enjoy retirement without the fear of running out of money. For these individuals, a goal may even be to grow their wealth over the long term—potentially to give to children, grandchildren or a charity.

  • Spend everything: This isn’t a typical goal, but some people think success is spending all of their money before they die. This is a risky proposition. There’s no way to know how long your retirement will last and it’s common to underestimate expenses needed in later years.

Your goals may fit one or more of these categories. They may also change as your circumstances and priorities shift. Having a well-designed, adaptable plan is what’s important. Clear and regular communication is crucial for success. Our Investment Counselors provide our clients with ongoing communication and education opportunities to help ensure their portfolios remain focused on their specific goals and priorities.

Set Your Goals

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Create Your Retirement Plan

Preparing for your financial future can seem overwhelming—there are so many variables to consider. But, retirement planning doesn’t have to be stressful if approached in the right way. Like any “life-sized” topic, planning how to reach your financial goals can be easier to tackle in pieces—and with help.

After setting your financial goals, the next critical step in retirement planning is determining your investment time horizon—the length of time you need your assets to last. Most people assume their time horizon is the same as their life expectancy, but this approach ignores some important details. For example, if you’re married or in a long-term relationship, you should consider your partner’s time horizon—particularly if your spouse is younger or likely to live longer. Some investors also want to pass a portion of their wealth to future generations. In those instances, you should factor in the children’s or grandchildren’s time horizons. Every situation is unique and a well-planned retirement accounts for your circumstances.

Another important step in retirement planning is compiling an income and expense report (if you need cash flow from your retirement accounts.) Better understanding your income needs in retirement can help you identify any gaps that may need to be addressed.

Try to incorporate potential tax implications wherever possible. For example, do you have a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA? Both? What other sources of retirement income do you expect to have? Do you have a pension? Social Security? Rental income?

Starting your retirement plan early can increase your chances for success. Don’t fret about getting everything exactly right in the beginning. Projected financial information doesn’t need to be completely accurate early on, but the more data you can incorporate, the more realistic a plan you can make.

Just make sure to review and update your plan regularly. Our experienced Investment Counselors are there to help our clients create and stick to a plan designed to fulfill their financial goals.

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Investing for Your Retirement

Once you’ve established your goals and time horizon, you can consider the investments options and account types available to you.

Common types of retirement investments include securities—such as stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and other investment vehicles—and real estate. Each has its own unique characteristics. Some securities like stocks may offer more growth potential, while others might provide steady income, such as bonds or real estate. These differences are worth understanding so you can make informed decisions about where to invest your retirement savings.

Common retirement account types include traditional 401(k)s, Roth 401(k)s, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, other defined contribution plans and—to a lesser extent nowadays—defined benefit plans (i.e., pensions). Some investors also choose to purchase annuities with their retirement savings.

Similar to the types of investments you choose, the account types you select, along with their tax treatment, can have big implications. For example, Roth accounts may allow tax-free withdrawals if you meet certain criteria. However, there are contribution limits that can affect how much you’re able to save.

Few investors fully understand the risks and benefits their investments carry, what account types to consider or how to apply them to a retirement plan. We can help. We help our clients understand their investments and which method of retirement savings leads to the best chance of success.

Your Investment Options
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Approaching Retirement

As you get closer to retirement, you will likely want to invest more time in fine-tuning your retirement plan. Investors looking to retire often seek advice on topics such as retirement income strategies, financial planning and Social Security.

If you are approaching retirement, you may wonder about the best strategies to generate income with your investments. The types of securities you invest in often influence your retirement income options.

Many financial “experts” suggest shifting your assets more heavily toward income-producing securities, like bonds, as you get closer to retirement. We believe this guidance is often shortsighted. Investors frequently underestimate how long their assets will need to last in retirement. We help our clients understand other ways to generate retirement income while still achieving the necessary growth for their assets to survive.

Explore Retirement Topics
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Investing After Retirement

If you have gotten to this step, congratulations! Your hard work has paid off and you can spend more time focusing on things that matter most in life. Now that you’ve reached this milestone, do you need to change anything about your investment approach?

Unfortunately, many investors see retirement as the end of the journey rather than the important transition period it is. Depending on how old you are when you retire, you likely have many more years ahead. We help our clients understand how to manage their retirement savings responsibly to help ensure it lasts.

Explore Post-Retirement Topics
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If you have questions about Fisher Investments' approach to retirement, or the current performance of your investments, contact us to request an evaluation.

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