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Retirement Planning Continues After You Retire

November 27, 2018

It can be easy to think of retirement planning as a means to an end: a series of purposeful meetings leading up to a life transition.

This transition is not the end of retirement planning. Think of this transition (and the steps preceding it) as the first phase. The second phase focuses on managing your spending, plus enhancing your income and savings.

It may be useful to plan your spending with the “bucket” approach. In this strategy, you withdraw assets from three “buckets” to spend on present-day, near-term, and future needs. The present-day (or short-term) bucket is a bucket of cash, typically from bank accounts or short-duration, fixed-income investments, that complements Social Security and other income sources. This is a liquid resource you can tap for emergency expenses as well as everyday needs. Your second bucket is your near-term bucket, a portion of your retirement savings invested for a mix of growth and income. This bucket could help you finance your vacations, a remodel of your home or yard or a dream that emerges during your “second act.” Your third bucket, a portion of your retirement fund invested mostly with an eye toward long-range growth, can be used to address health care costs (including long-term care expenses). All the while, tweaks can be made to your retirement plan in pursuit of tax efficiency and improved income streams (one may lead to the other). According to Bankrate, 61% of Americans have no idea how much money they will need to save for retirement, and very few have probably considered how they will spend the savings they have once away from work. So the first phase of retirement planning is designed to provide one kind of clarity; the second phase, another.1