How to Plan for the Perfect Retirement
Dana Anspach is a Certified Financial Planner, a Retirement Management Advisor, and the founder and CEO of Sensible Money, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm that specializes in retirement income planning.
Professor Anspach has been practicing as a financial planner since 1995 and writing as an expert on retirement-related topics since 2008. She was About.com’s MoneyOver55 expert for eight years, and her writing on retirement decisions can be found at The Balance. She has contributed content to MarketWatch and U.S. News & World Report, and she is the author of Control Your Retirement Destiny: Achieving Financial Security before the Big Transition and Social Security Sense: A Guide to Claiming Benefits for Those Age 60–70.
Recognized for her commitment to education, Professor Anspach has twice been named to the Investopedia 100, a list of financial advisors who are considered to be making significant contributions to financial literacy. She also serves on the Strategic Retirement Advisory Council for the Investments & Wealth Institute, where she helps expand the reach of the Retirement Management Advisor designation.
01: How to Think like a Retirement Expert
Discover the many aspects of retirement planning that you’ll need to consider when working toward financial security for your later years. Explore the differences between the go-go, slow-go, and no-go years of retirement, and why your plan must address the specific needs of each period. And when considering financial products, learn to differentiate between a salesperson and a true advisor.
02: How Much Money Do You Need to Retire?
You might have heard some “rules of thumb” about financing your retirement, and they might point you in the right direction. But in this lesson, you will learn why no generality, statistical average, or one-size-fits-all answer will work for you. Instead, you will learn how to accurately estimate how much money you will need in retirement by creating a series of personalized expense, income, and withdrawal timelines.
03: Five Ways That Retirees Run Out of Money
We all have one important thing in common about our retirement: We do not want to run out of money! Examine the five major risk categories every retiree will face and learn the key aspects of developing a responsive and resilient financial plan to address these risks in retirement. Then you’ll be in solid shape to weather any storms that might come along.
04: How to Start Saving for Retirement
Many of us resist the idea of creating a budget, but having a handle on your spending is the starting point to financial success. Compare and contrast two different ways to create a personalized spending plan. You’ll also learn how to make some crucial planning decisions, including whether to pay down debt first or boost savings and whether to rent or buy a home.
05: Mid-Career Financial Strategies
If you’re a mid-career parent, you’ll have some important decisions to make regarding funding your child’s college vs. funding retirement accounts for yourself. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using your company’s benefits to your best advantage. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to address those issues, plus why tax-deductible contributions to a retirement plan might not be the boon you think it is.
06: Investing for Safety, Income, and Growth
Where should you put your money when saving for retirement? That feels like the million-dollar question, and the sheer amount of information out there is overwhelming. Understand why discipline, not superior skill, will be your key to success, as you learn how stocks, bonds, and mutual funds work and the differences between active and passive investing.
07: The Five-Year Countdown to Retirement
Discover the crucial actions and decisions you’ll face in the five years immediately prior to your retirement. You’ll learn about the importance of building up cash reserves; how and why to simplify your financial life; when to begin taking Social Security; whether or not to downsize your home; and, if you have a pension, whether to take that payout as a lump sum or as an annuity payout.
08: How to Make Your Retirement Savings Last
Look into four main strategies for withdrawal. For example, what is the income-only approach to retirement savings and is it right for you? Dig deep into annuities as a vehicle for your retirement and learn why this sometimes-controversial product is neither all good nor all bad. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of the other three main types of annuities as well—income, deferred-income, and variable.
09: Planning the Go-Go Years in Retirement
One of the most important decisions you’ll make is when to retire. Learn about the costs and availability of health care coverage, the pros and cons of two spouses retiring at the same time, when to start taking Social Security payments, and rules related to required minimum distributions from your retirement accounts—all of which will figure into the many financial decisions you’ll make in the earliest years of retirement.
10: Financial Strategies for the Slow-Go Years
Most of us consider our trust, power of attorney, and health care directive as among our most important estate-planning documents. But in this lesson, you’ll see why these are equally crucial: the titling of your accounts and property, and setting up beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts, life insurance, and investment accounts.
11: Social Security, Medicare, and Tax Strategy
Don’t make your crucial decisions about Social Security, health insurance, or your tax strategy based on outdated information or what anyone else did. In this lesson, you’ll learn about the pros and cons of all your decision options. The reward for getting these decisions right can be worth thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars.
12: 10 Questions to Answer Before You Retire
Creating a secure retirement plan that meets all your needs is complex, with lots of integrated moving parts. Small decisions you make now can have major consequences for your financial security later on. Explore 10 questions that can help point you to a plan for your perfect retirement.