How does a financial advisor help clients plan for retirement?

The biggest change typically for a client when you look at their financial situation is when they go from working full-time to transitioning into retirement. Your whole financial situation changes. You go from making lots of money in employment to making little or no money from employment and then having to rely on your assets, and through that transition, your tax return can change quite a bit as well.
So one of the things that I really like to focus on, and I think if there is a point in time when I probably can have my biggest impact on a client’s financial situation because when they’re going through that process working through, okay, you know, the allocation changes that need to be made in the retirement plan, you know, possibly rolling over the old 401-K or pension decisions—you know, if those clients still have pensions all the way then to manipulating that tax return to try and figure out, you know, how much income should we, you know, what kind of income do we have coming in from employment this year? How much can we take out of retirement plans to meet your spending goals and staying within a, you know, a certain tax bracket whether it be a 15% or 25% tax bracket.
If you don’t pay attention to those things, you can pay a lot more in taxes than what you really need to, and then to throw on top of that if you start drawing social security, what’s the tax impact on social security, you know, analyzing, okay, when does it become taxable? There’s a lot of moving parts at that point in time.
The other main thing—I think one of the biggest buzzwords that I see a lot either from clients or from, you know, the media is when to take social security as well through that transition. You know, I don’t think there’s any black and white answer like many aspects of this business. I think everyone’s situation’s a little bit different. So it’s important to take a look at it, but there’s no, you know, there might be a very general rule of thumb, but there’s no real answer for that. So helping clients walk through that process. When should they take? You know, should they start drawing early when they retire? Should they wait until their full retirement age? Should they wait until they are 70? You know, and there’s some other things you can do to—other options that you might have as well—taking spousal benefits and things like that. So really working through that process of, you know, when there is a major event in your life that affects you financially, there’s a lot of different moving pieces, and if we, you know, do a good job of kind of putting them all together correctly, we can save taxes. We can, you know, manage risk. We can make those assets last longer.

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Grandville, MI 49418

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