Close your eyes and picture your retirement. Are you traveling? Living in your dream cottage by the lake? Enjoying hobbies with friends and family? Sounds great, right?
While it is impossible to know exactly what the future will bring, it is never too early to prepare for life after you leave your day job behind. And with average life expectancies steadily increasing in the U.S. (now estimated at 79 years1), you need a plan that will last you well into your golden years, so your money can live on as long as you do.
Start with your goals
To determine what type of retirement you want, ask yourself the following questions:
- What age am I going to retire?
- What do I want to do during my retirement?
- What does my spouse want to do during retirement?
- What obstacles could prevent me from an ideal retirement?
Answers to the above questions will help you determine what your income need will be in retirement. This will then help you determine how much retirement savings you’ll need before you leave that day job.
Put a solid plan into action
Though certain things are out of your control—like market volatility, inflation, and unexpected life events—there are investment strategies to help you weather the uncertainty and make your retirement savings last.
- Income lays the foundation
Start by determining income sources that will cover your essential expenses in retirement. Many retirees use pensions, social security, and even part-time employment as income sources to fund their retirement years. You can also consider other financial products that will help you establish that stable floor of income.
- Asset allocation is critical
Ensuring that some of your assets are allocated in lower-risk investments like bonds and cash equivalents can help meet short-term income needs. For longer-term retirement savings and growth of principal, it’s important to consider having some portion in higher-risk investments with exposure to the stock market.
Thrivent Mutual Funds offers a range of asset allocation funds that allow you to match your risk tolerance to a grouping of well-diversified mutual fund options.
- Diversify to help manage income taxes
There are several ways to structure your assets to take full advantage of tax rules, so you can reduce taxes and potentially increase your income. You probably want some of your money in immediately-taxable assets, like savings and checking accounts for short-term needs. For the longer-term, consider tax-deferred accounts like qualified plans and Traditional IRAs. Keeping some of your assets in Roth IRAs and municipal bond mutual funds could provide you with a source of income on which you may not have to pay federal income taxes. For example, if you meet certain conditions, Roth IRA distributions of earnings may be federal and state income tax free.2 And, dividends from municipal bond funds are generally federal income tax free, but not state income tax free, although a portion of municipal bond fund income may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax. Please see a tax advisor for more information.
- Live generously
To help your legacy live on after you’re gone, it's generally a good practice to name beneficiaries for all of your accounts. It's simple to do and can be updated at any time. See Why it Pays to Have a Beneficiary for more information.
Whether your retirement is years away or coming up soon, knowing your options and having a plan can make all the difference. Thrivent Mutual Funds offers a range of retirement accounts and mutual funds to help you craft the retirement you want.