In an ideal world, making a retirement plan would put you in a good mood. You get to think about the things you want to do instead of the things you have to do. But for many of my clients, the idea used to scare them. How much money would they need? What if they couldn't save enough? Retirement became something to fear instead of something to anticipate. I can help you change that.

To help make it easier and less intimidating, here are five questions to help you start making your retirement plan:

1. How Much Income Do I Need to Live Comfortably?

It's hard to know where to start, isn't it? I can help. The first step involves a simple calculation. To get a ballpark figure, just multiply your expected salary at retirement by 8. This is roughly how much you should aim for to support yourself for 25 years of retirement. That number might look big, but don't worry. You don't have to get there all at once! And remember, that number is just an estimate. I can give you a much more accurate target if we talk together in person or over the phone.

2. What Happens to My Savings if the Market Crashes Again?

No one can predict when the market will rise or fall, which also means it's hard to estimate how much money you'll have in a traditional retirement account when you turn 65. Will it be enough to retire...or not? The best strategy is to have a diversified portfolio. Don't put all your money in the risky stock market, or all your money in a low-earning but safe CD. Neither option is likely to meet your goals in the end. I recommend creating a diverse portfolio that includes traditional retirement accounts like a 401(k) or IRA, along with non-traditional income sources, like the cash value of a permanent life insurance policy.

3. What Happens to My Savings if the Tax Rate Goes Up?

The problem with traditional retirement accounts, like a 401(k), is that you pay tax when it's time to take that money out of the account. But if the tax rate is higher when you retire, you're paying more than you would if you were taxed when you earned the money. That's another reason why diversification is a good thing. For example, the cash value accumulated by a permanent life insurance policy is available to you, income-tax free, up to the value you've paid in premiums. Because you paid for your policy with pre-tax dollars, the cash value and death benefit of your policy are both income-tax free.

4. What if I Need to Access My Retirement Savings before Age 65.5?

As you might know, you're not allowed to withdraw from traditional retirement accounts before age 65.5...unless you're willing to pay the 10% early withdrawal penalty. If it seems unfair to be taxed extra just to access your money, you're not alone. That why I help my clients set up permanent life insurance, so they'll have cash value available to them at any age, for any reason. No minimum distributions or age requirements at all! It's a handy solution if you think you may need funds before age 65.5.

5. What Happens to My Family if I Die Before Retirement?

This is the most important question for almost all of my clients. They know they need to save for retirement, but if they lock that money away in an IRA or 401(k), their family can't get to it during emergencies. How can you balance the need to save for retirement with the need to give your family a nest egg? Life insurance is the answer. The death benefit is 100% income-tax free, and it's paid out to your family quickly if you pass away. You don't have to worry about socking away extra money...just keep your policy in force, and you know your loved ones are protected. Plus, with a permanent policy, you'll be building cash value the entire time. It's a great way to know you're doing the right thing for your family and your future.

Of course, a life insurance policy offers much more than cash value. It offers peace of mind! That's the most important consideration to make when choosing a policy.

Let's see what life insurance can add to your retirement plan! Give me a call or send me an email today.