How should my wife and I begin saving for retirement at 51 years old?

I'm 51 years old and my wife and I are without a retirement plan. Now that our son is through college, we're thinking about our financial future. We don't have a retirement plan but have three life insurance policies with a total cash value of approximately $60,000. Should we remove some or all of that cash and invest in a Roth IRA? How should we begin saving for retirement?

Financial Planning, Retirement, Retirement Savings, Investing, IRAs, Retirement Plans, Life Insurance
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June 2018

Congratulations on helping your son through college! Now as “empty nester’s” the task of saving for retirement. Without knowing much about your situation, here is a simple 3 point guide to get you started.

1- Establish a goal of how much income you need to have in retirement. This could be established by a percentage of your current budget. This helps you determine four things, (1) how much you need to accumulate, (2) the withdraw rate, (3) when and for (4) how long it could last.

2- Have a good understanding of your budget and what other goals would come in to play. Your budget would help maintain your lifestyle and also protect you if an unexpected event occurred. Do you have adequate protection for premature death, disability, high medical expenses and an emergency fund. What other activities will require a consistent savings program, such as travel, or a big purchase/expense, i.e., travel, second home or your son’s wedding (haha).

3- Lastly, where to fund your retirement in the most effective manner. Do you have access to an employer plan and do they match a percentage. This is the fastest way to boost your retirement savings program. Next, consider the various individual retirement account options such as an IRA or ROTH IRA to name a few. This point ties back to your goal because you need a running start to fund as much as possible and need to consider the risk you are willing to take.

You should be careful in reviewing the options with your existing life insurance policies, in terms of how or what to do with them. Things to consider, when did you purchase your policies and has your health changed? The cost of that same policy might cost more now and are you still insurable? Is there enough cash value that the policy would sustain it self or for how long? What does the cost of life insurance premium schedule look like in the later years and will the funding keep pace to sustain it.

Consider working with a financial advisor that you feel comfortable either on an annual or on an ongoing basis to help you get organized.

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