If you’re thinking about retirement and questioning whether your savings will support you for the rest of your life, you’re not alone. A survey by Allianz Insurance Company found that two-thirds of respondents were more afraid of running out of money than they were of dying.
Yahoo Finance tackled your retirement concerns during our Year-End Money Questions Livestream. Our panel of experts, who included Jean Chatzky, CEO of HerMoney.com, Avani Ramnani, CFP and wealth manager at Francis Financial, and Alicia Jegede, CPA and tax planner, shared their advice for how to responsibly live in your retirement years.
1. Think about how you will allocate your funds year to year
Chatzky says we’ve been conditioned to save for retirement, but it’s equally crucial to think about how you should manage your withdrawals when retirement comes.
“Get the lay of the land–particularly when you’re entering this phase of life when your income is likely going down and you’re not sure what’s going to happen to your expenses, a lot of things are up in the air,” she says.
Ramnani says you need to look at all the elements of your retirement: how much you can take out without compromising your financial security, how long you will live, what your expenses will be, and what, if any, income you’ll have coming in.
“You might live for 20-30 years into retirement so it’s not a one-time thing–there are so many nuances to consider,” she says.
2. Work with a financial advisor to get your plan in place
Chatzky recommends having a plan for your retirement spending – otherwise, you’re bound to overspend early on.
“Not having a plan going forward is very quickly a way to overspend and put yourself in a deep hole when it comes to the rest of your retirement,” she says.
Ramnani recommends working with a financial advisor to work through this transitional time. “Help is available at all parts of the spectrum–you can go to someone for just a few hours but you get good advice and you walk away with a solid plan,” she says. You can also work with someone before and during your retirement, to check in and make sure you’re on track, she says.
3. Don’t tap into your retirement account until you need to
If you decide to tap into your retirement accounts before you hit retirement age, you will be short-changing your savings and opening yourself to taxes and fees. You must be 59 1/2 to take out money from your IRAs and 401(k)s without a penalty. Any earlier, and you could incur a 10% penalty tax, with some exceptions.