Financial Assessment

A thorough financial assessment provides a clear picture of where your finances are right now. This helps you determine if you're on track to meet your retirement goals or if adjustments are needed.

First, tally up all your sources of retirement income:

  • Savings account balances
  • Investments
  • Social security
  • Pensions

Then, consider other income streams or assets. Then evaluate any outstanding debts — mortgage payments, auto or college loans, medical bills, alimony, or tax debts — that could erode your savings.


Budget Planning for Retirement

Budgeting builds financial resilience by giving you an idea of how much you need to maintain an uncompromised, comfortable standard of living throughout retirement.

  • Account for necessities like housing, food, clothing, and transportation.
  • Explore the cost of hobbies, dining out, leisure activities, and travel.
  • Factor in healthcare expenses, including premiums, deductibles, and copays.
  • Estimate significant one-time expenses like a bucket list vacation, home renovation, or new vehicle purchase.


Investment Strategy Review

Regular investment strategy review and portfolio rebalancing are essential factors in retirement planning, as you’ll need to align your portfolio with your savings goals and shifting levels of risk tolerance to align with your goals.

For instance, when you’re young, you might choose aggressive, growth-oriented stocks in volatile markets for long-term potential. But as you near retirement, you’ll likely transition to more conservative, income-generating investments like bonds or dividend-paying stocks to preserve your capital.

You’ll also need to consider the long-term impact of inflation, as $50,000 today may need to grow to $90,000 tomorrow to maintain the same purchasing power. Specific investments — like inflation-protected securities or annuities — may be a tool to safeguard against rising prices.


Estate Planning and Legal Considerations

Planning your estate helps relieve your loved ones from undue financial burdens, providing clarity and security during an emotionally challenging time. It also ensures your assets are distributed and your legacy carries on in accordance with your wishes.

Beyond drafting a will, a comprehensive estate plan involves:

  • Designating power of attorney and a healthcare proxy for decision-making.
  • Naming guardians for dependents and beneficiaries for insurance plans, retirement accounts, and shared assets.
  • Being mindful of potential tax implications.
  • Structuring your plan to ensure your charitable goals are met, if that’s important to you.
  • Writing a letter with your wishes for funeral arrangements or heirloom distribution.

Ensure all documents are notarized and stored securely. Regularly review your plan every five years or during significant life events.


Insurance Needs

Insurance is one way to cover large expenses in retirement. Some insurance costs, such as healthcare, will likely increase.

While Medicare can provide substantial coverage, it may not fully address long-term care expenses, such as nursing home or in-home care. Some long-term care insurance can help bridge this gap, offering financial protection against the high costs of extended care services.

Other types of insurance needs can decrease in retirement. It’s a good time to review your life insurance coverage, particularly if your children are grown and your mortgage is paid off.

Additionally, with reduced reliance on vehicles and commuting, you may be eligible for decreased coverage or discounts on your auto insurance.


Social Security and Pension Planning

You can sign up for a My Social Security account at to calculate how much Social Security income you’re eligible to receive at different ages. Be sure to review your financial plan with a financial advisor to determine the most optimal Social Security filing strategy for you.

To manage pension plan benefits, understand your payout options, optimize distribution timing by considering your tax bracket, consider rolling funds into an IRA, if applicable, and regularly review the plan for alignment with retirement goals.


Tax Implications

Taxes in retirement can fluctuate due to changes in income sources, withdrawals from retirement accounts, and shifting tax brackets. A financial advisor at EP Wealth can provide guidance by assessing your unique situation, suggesting tax-efficient withdrawal strategies, and exploring potential tax-saving opportunities such as Roth conversions or charitable giving.

They can also help you navigate tax laws, potentially minimize tax liabilities, and use retirement funds most effectively.


Pre-Retirement Checklist

For a summary of key points, you can refer to this retirement planning checklist:


The Pre-Retirement Checklist:

  • Understand Your Retirement Vision: Clarify your retirement goals.
  • Assess Your Finances: Evaluate savings, investments, Social Security, and debts.
  • Plan Your Budget: Tally necessities, hobbies, healthcare, and one-time expenses.
  • Strategize Your Investments: Align portfolios with savings goals and risk tolerance.
  • Plan Your Estate: Determine power of attorney, beneficiaries, and distribution wishes.
  • Review Your Insurance: Increase or decrease life, health, and auto insurance coverage.
  • Calculate Your Benefits: Maximize social security and pension distribution timing.
  • Know Your Taxes: Explore potential tax-saving strategies and tax-efficient withdrawals.

A preparing for retirement checklist is a great place to start, but it’s no substitute for a
1:1 consultation. Get in touch with a financial advisor at EP Wealth.



How to save for retirement, the options available, and/or when/how to open a retirement account is unique for each individual. A number of factors have to be considered and for this reason it can be a difficult process to find the options that are most beneficial for you. No guarantee or warrantee is made that any of the information submitted or referenced here will be suitable, profitable, or prove successful. Other retirement saving options exist that may be better suited to your individual needs. Please consult a professional, including, a financial, tax, legal and/or human resources professional before implementing anything referenced herein.

The information presented here is not intended to be regarded as a comprehensive list of retirement plans, considerations, including but not limited to, categories, services, or qualifications that a client or prospective client should consider when assessing or comparing retirement plans or retirement accounts. As the author of this piece, EP Wealth Advisors, LLC (“EPWA”) has tailored the messaging of this article to align with the categories, services, qualifications, capabilities and services that it offers and can service. EPWA makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information presented. EPWA reserves the right to make changes to some or all of the information displayed here without notice.

There is no guarantee that the services detailed herein will be offered to a client, or if offered, that they will be offered in the manner outlined here. The services EPWA offers clients is dependent on the requirements of each client. In many instances, clients or prospective clients may not have a need for all or some of the services detailed.

The need for and type of retirement account that an individual or employer require are specific to the uniqueness of everyone’s circumstances. The referenced material identified herein is limited in nature and angles towards accounts and plans that align with the services offered by EPWA. There is no guarantee or warrantee that the services offered by EPWA will satisfy your financial service’s needs. Services offered by other advisors may be more suitable to your specific needs.

The content of this report is believed to be accurate as of the date of publication and cannot and does not accurately forecast future economic, market, or financial conditions; including changes to retirement benefits. For this reason, any subsequent changes, and/or that occur after the publication of this publication may cause the analysis encompassed herein to become inaccurate.

Information presented is general in nature and should not be viewed as a comprehensive analysis of the topics discussed. It is intended to serve as a tool containing general information that should assist you in the development of subsequent discussions with the appropriate professionals. Content does not involve the rendering of personalized investment advice nor is it intended to supplement professional individualized advice. Please consult a professional financial, tax, legal and/or human resources professional before applying any of the approaches or strategies made referenced directly or indirectly here.

Asset allocation and diversification do not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses.

All investment strategies, including retirement accounts and plans, have the potential for profit or loss. Different types of investments and investment strategies involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment or strategy will be suitable or profitable for a client's portfolio. The risk of loss can never be eliminated even if working with a professional.


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