As a Certified Financial Planner, Marc Linsky has worked with literally thousands of retirees helping them plan for their golden years. Some couples plan in advance for retirement, he says, while others don’t have the luxury of extra time. Regardless, Marc says there are certain steps that anyone can follow to have an enjoyable and comfortable retirement. Here, he outlines some of the top recommendations he has given his clients over the years.
Family & Financial Health | Marc Linsky
1) Your family’s health should always come first, Marc begins, “and I like to begin with preventative maintenance.” He says you can’t start too early creating healthy eating habits and getting the proper amount of exercise. “I’ve seen many people,” he adds, “who eat 5-6 servings of vegetables a day. These are the ones that live the longest and feel the best,” he says. Marc Linsky says when thinking about healthcare during your retirement years, make sure you have access to good doctors and hospitals. This doesn’t mean you’ll need to live in a big city, but you might want to think twice before living in a third-world country with substandard care. Marc says along with good healthcare, you’ll also want to ensure you continue to have good health insurance. Look at a few different plans, he adds, to get one that fits your needs perfectly. That way you’re not overpaying for what you don’t need when you add in Medicare, he adds.
2) Your financial health comes a close second, Marc Linsky explains. If you’re able to plan your retirement in earlier years, he recommends working with a certified financial planner to get everything in order. The worst situation to be in, he says, is one in which you need more money and it’s not there. Plan with plenty of income in mind, he says, plus extra income for any unexpected emergencies. Marc recommends having a side job or two on standby so you’re able to earn some extra income if needed. Plan for inflation, he adds. It never hurts to have a little extra for a rainy day, he says.
3) Make sure your insurance needs are adequate. Marc Linsky says a certified financial planner can help you with this and make sure you’re covered in the event of an emergency. You might also consider long-term insurance, he adds, to help cover the costs of caring for you or your loved ones in your later years.
Where to Retire & Spending Smart | Marc Linksy of Estreet Financial
4) Marc says think about where you will retire. “The location you choose to retire is something that is personal to just you,” he says. Some people want warm weather, while others want the benefit of living in a state that doesn’t tax social security. Think about what you want, he says, and what your needs are. Marc references this article from Motley Fool that lists 37 states that don’t charge tax on social security earnings as of this writing:
5) Plan your retirement expenses carefully, Marc says, and have a buffer added to that total. By planning a little bit more than you think you’ll actually need, you’ll be able to weather those rainy days when the unexpected happens. Most financial planners recommend you’ll need about 80% of your pre-retirement income, he says. However, that number is something that he sees vary in a lot of retirees since some people may need more like 85% and some may need much less. Again, it comes down to financial planning, what you’re able to afford, he says, and the lifestyle you want to maintain.
6) Spend smart. Marc says if you can’t afford a lavish lifestyle, planning ahead of time can help. Look for ways to take vacations closer to home and live below your means. Find ways of budgeting to reduce your extra expenses and look for a way of increasing your income. Marc says those three things — increasing your income, having realistic expenses, and reducing your expenses — are the primary methods of making this work. Marc says to look for savings and discounts which are almost everywhere nowadays for seniors. One place he recommends checking out is https://www.theseniorlist.com/senior-discounts/ for a long list of discounts you might not have even considered. “Again, it all comes down to smart spending,” he says.
7) Marc Linsky recommends paying off your mortgage and credit cards. “If you can go into retirement without owning major debts,” he says, “your retirement will be much more enjoyable than if you have unpaid bills hanging over your head.” Of course, this assumes you have savings, he says, which always comes first, he adds. But after your emergency stash is funded, get as much paid off as you can before you retire. Paying off your debts may also help your credit, he says, but the plan is to try not to use too much credit in your retirement years, he says.
The Importance of Having a Social Life, Continuing to Save & Communication | Marc Linsky
8) Keep an active social life, Marc says. While this might not have much to do with financial planning, Marc says that sometimes it does, depending on your idea of an active social life. You’ll want to keep going to lunch with your friends now and then, he adds, or you might decide to join a club or neighborhood group. In any event, Marc Linsky has found that retirees who continue to maintain close contact with friends are the ones who are happiest in their retirement years. Just don’t stop being active, he says. Family and friends are so important to good mental health.
9) Keep saving. Marc Linsky said the happiest retirees are the ones that are still able to contribute to their savings, even with a fixed income. “Again, this goes back to smart spending,” he adds. “It’s the peace of mind of knowing you have some extra money just in case.”
10) The final thing Marc Linsky recommends is communication. If you’re part of a couple, he adds, make sure you’re both on the same page as far as goals. Make sure you decide as a couple on the ideal lifestyle you’d like to live in your retirement age and work together to make it happen, Marc says. It should be something that both of you want, he adds.
These recommendations aren’t new, Marc Linsky says, but they’re just good common sense. “I’ve seen it time and time again — those that plan ahead have the best retirement.” If anyone has any questions about any of these tips, just let me know, he adds. “I’m happy to help.”
About Marc Linsky CFP
Marc Linsky CFP is a certified financial planner and the President of Estreet Financial, a financial investment firm specializing in retirement and financial planning with particular focus on those in the medical professions. He holds the CFP certification, which is recognized as the standard of excellence for the financial planning profession and has been helping people with their financial, retirement, and estate planning since 1986. Marc holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics from Penn State University. He has been married 33 years to his wife, Molly, and has 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren. Estreet Financial has offices in New Jersey, Florida, and New York.