10-05-2017 Columns

Consider multiple factors when creating retirement plans

When you create your financial and investment strategies for retirement, what will you need to know? In other words, what factors should you consider, and how will these factors affect your investment-related decisions, before and during your retirement?

Consider the following:

Age at retirement – Not surprisingly, your retirement date likely will be heavily influenced by your financial situation – so, if you have to keep working, that’s what you’ll do. But if you have a choice in the matter, your decision could have a big impact on your investment strategy. For example, if you want to retire early, you may need to save and invest more aggressively than you would if you plan to work well past typical retirement age. Also, your retirement date may well affect when you start accepting Social Security payments; if you retire early, you might have to start taking your benefits at age 62, even though your monthly checks will be considerably smaller than if you waited until your “full” retirement age, which is likely to be 66 or 67.

Retirement lifestyle – Some people want to spend their retirement years traveling from Athens to Zanzibar, while others simply want to stay close to home and family, pursuing quiet, inexpensive hobbies. Clearly, the lifestyle you choose will affect how much you need to accumulate before you retire and how much you will need to withdraw from your various investment accounts once you do.

Second career – Some people retire from one career only to begin another. If you think you’d like to have a “second act” in your working life, you might need some additional training, or you might just put your existing expertise to work as a consultant. If you do launch a new career, it could clearly affect your financial picture. For one thing, if you add a new source of earned income, you might be able to withdraw less from your retirement accounts each year. (Keep in mind, though, that once you reach 70-1/2, you will have to take at least some withdrawals from your traditional IRA and your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan.) On the other hand, if you keep earning income, you can continue putting money into a traditional IRA (until you’re 70-1/2) or a Roth IRA (indefinitely) and possibly contribute to a retirement plan for the self-employed, such as a SEP-IRA or an “owner-only” 401(k).

Philanthropy – During your working years, you may have consistently donated money to charitable organizations. And once you retire, you may want to do even more. For one thing, of course, you can volunteer more of your time. But you also might want to set up some more permanent method of financial support. Consequently, you might want to work with your legal advisor and financial professional to incorporate elements of your investment portfolio into your estate plans to provide more support for charitable groups.

As you can see, your retirement goals can affect your investment strategy – and vice versa. So, think carefully about what you want to accomplish, plan ahead and get the help you need. It takes time and effort to achieve a successful retirement, but it’s worth it.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Flu vaccination

Berrien County Health Department officials want to remind everyone in Berrien County to get their annual flu shot. It is recommended that every person six months and older get the flu vaccination every year, especially certain groups who are considered at highest risk, like young children, pregnant women, and adults over the age of sixty-five.

Residents are reminded that they can receive flu vaccinations at a variety of locations throughout the community, including at the Berrien County Health Department, pharmacies, and at their family doctor’s office. With flu season right around the corner, Dr. Rick Johansen, Berrien County Medical Director stresses that “getting vaccinated soon has advantages since it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop and provide protection that will last throughout the flu season.” The flu vaccine is still the single best protection against the flu and it is also helpful in reducing the length and severity of illness if someone does get the flu. Johansen reminds parents that, “while kids may not like it, getting stuck with a needle is a small price to pay to avoid having a fever, cough, sore throat and body aches for days, or even weeks.”

The Berrien County Health Department will offer flu vaccinations at their offices in Benton Harbor and Niles every Friday October 6 through December 22. Both locations will accept walk-ins, but residents are encouraged t