American households spend 13% of their budgets on food—and waste 30% of what they buy. Saving more to cover these expenses may make a huge difference in retirement.

Maximizing your retirement plan requires a clear picture of your income and expenses. You can create a budget with the assistance of a financial planner that balances the amount of money coming in and going out.

Asset Allocation

It’s a simple strategy that helps minimize the risk of your retirement plan falling victim to big market drops. It’s based on the idea that you should divide your savings into different categories, such as stocks (equities), bonds, and cash. Each carries its level of risk and rewards.

Stocks are like the engine of your investment portfolio, providing power and forward momentum. Bonds are akin to shock absorbers, reducing the impact of market dips and bumps. And cash, such as money market accounts and certificates of deposit, provides a stable base of funds for emergencies. The optimal asset allocation will vary depending on your age, investment-related goals, time horizon, and comfort with risk. It’s essential to revisit the mix periodically.

Portfolio Rebalancing

Rebalancing aims to bring your portfolio back in line with its original asset allocation. For example, suppose your planned balance of stocks and bonds becomes 80% stocks and 20% bonds, but the value of your portfolio grows to 85% stocks and 15% bonds. In that case, you can sell high-performing stock holdings to buy more bonds, returning the portfolio to its original asset allocation.

Rebalancing is common in Boeing retirement plans and many online brokerage accounts. Ideally, your financial planner will create a rebalancing schedule that is either quarterly, semi-annual, or annual. This is the best way to minimize rebalancing costs and improve long-term returns. Setting specific thresholds for when to rebalance can help remove emotion from the process.

Retirement Income Planning

During retirement, your savings and investments must provide steady income for the rest of your life. This requires a well-thought-out retirement income plan that includes strategies to help preserve your investment accounts, maximize Social Security benefits, and ensure you have enough to cover unexpected expenses.

Suppose you want to purchase an annuity or other fixed-income products. In that case, a financial planner can assist you in determining the optimal time to begin receiving Social Security payments and your expected rate of return on investment. They can also show you ways to increase your retirement savings.

For example, consider setting up automatic deductions to transfer money from your checking account into your retirement investments on the same day you get paid. It’s easy to forget to do this, but it can make a big difference.

Tax-Advantaged Savings

The amount of money you save and how you save it are essential factors in maximizing your retirement nest egg. Finance experts often cite figures like saving $1 million and other formulas to help set savings goals, but each person’s situation differs.

Financial planners can help maximize retirement savings through tax-advantaged accounts. You can save on taxes and give your investments more time to grow by directing a portion of your paycheck into a health savings account, flexible spending account, or workplace retirement plan.

Diversifying the timing of your withdrawals among taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free accounts can also be beneficial. This can be particularly helpful if you need clarification about the tax bracket you’ll be in.

Estate Planning

A well-thought-out estate plan can safeguard the interests of a retiree’s loved ones. The process includes identifying income sources, estimating expenses, implementing a savings plan, and managing assets and risks.

Integrating retirement and estate planning is critical for a stress-free and prosperous future. This includes maximizing tax-efficient income strategies, understanding retirement accounts and taxes, incorporating estate planning tools such as trusts, setting up powers of attorney, and considering health care costs.

Having a plan is also crucial when withdrawing funds from retirement accounts. Doing so can help you avoid penalties and maximize your retirement dollars. Additionally, you can choose to use life insurance policies as an effective way to pass on wealth and provide security for your beneficiaries.

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