Want to really enjoy the good life in Northern Michigan once you retire? Two top Traverse City wealth managers share the client tips they wish everyone knew.
Prepare for the “Seven Saturdays”
“Before retirement, Saturday is typically a peak spending day for people. Once you retire, there are seven Saturdays a week, and most retirees haven’t budgeted for that. We have discussions with clients about how much they are spending today versus what they will realistically spend in retirement to make sure their ‘spend number’ is accurate.” —Rick Simonton, The Simonton-Walsh-Hanosek-Mangum Wealth Management Group, Traverse City
Don’t Touch Social Security Until Age 70
“You qualify between age 66 and 67, but for every year you delay tapping those benefits, it pays off: at age 66 you’d reap 100 percent of annual benefits. At age 67, 108 percent. Wait until 70 and the payout jumps to 132 percent—a move that could add significantly to your retirement income over the years.” —Autumn Soltysiak, hemming& Wealth Management, Traverse City
Long Live the Family Vacation
“Family vacations or ‘off-site’ holiday celebrations are popular must-spends in retirement outside of daily living and health care expenses. Although most families travel for spring break or vacation during the summer when the kids are young, we have encouraged clients to specifically allocate funds for these special trips throughout life. Whether they are every year or every few years, these events become a very important tradition that can be documented via pictures or stories written by each family member, creating lifelong memories.” —R.S.
Trade Your Time in Return for Luxuries
“Love concerts? Volunteer as an usher at Interlochen. Can’t live without golf? Work part-time at the pro shop and earn free play or shop discounts. This can really add to your quality of life and save you considerably on spending.” —A.S.
Beware Deceptive Downsizing
“Almost one in three Americans moves into a new home around the time of retirement. We typically see a significant downsize in square footage of a home, but the quality of the home—construction, view, location—often improves significantly. The net result is there is usually not a significant savings despite the downsize, and many times the smaller home costs more.” —R.S.
But Don’t Forget to Go Big
“If you’re a good saver, sometimes it’s hard to spend money in retirement, because you’re used to taking the budget option. For bucket-list items, we really try to prove to the client they can afford the first-class ticket or that amazing hotel, because that can be transformational spending. If you’re not spending enough, we might encourage you to look at your plan with money—there’s no sense in having it left over in the end.” —A.S.
Plan a Second Act
“Our clients are typically okay financially upon retirement. However, the biggest adjustment is defining their purpose after retirement. Many have been running very hard their entire careers and have had many responsibilities. Upon retirement, that comes to a halt. So, we’ll have conversations with clients to make sure they are ready and ask them to describe what their ‘Second Act’ looks like. We will often encourage consulting, volunteering or attending classes. The folks who say they will play golf every day upon retirement usually indicate that it was great for six months—and then they got bored.” —R.S.