Retirement planning is a process that helps you take a look at the money you’ve saved for retirement and create a way to distribute it and/or invest it so that year-by-year, you have the most money to live on, pay the lowest taxes possible, and never run out of money no matter how long you live. Additionally, in retirement you have to plan for the risks you face, such as losing a spouse, when the lower of your two Social Security checks will go away.

There is no hard and fast rule about when you should file for Social Security benefits—it depends on your personal situation. Yes, you do get a lower benefit amount if you file at age 62. But if you have been downsized out of a job or are unhealthy, it may make more sense than waiting until your full retirement age (approximately 66, depending on your month and year of birth.) If you wait past your full retirement age, your benefit will increase by 8% every year up until age 70.

The financial planning work we do as retirement advisors helps protect you against the many risks you may face as you get older, such as losing a spouse or becoming incapacitated, as well as spelling out your income sources up to and beyond age 100. Most retirees fear running out of money in retirement more than they fear dying. People who work with us are often surprised that it doesn’t take 10 or 12x their income to retire, if you work with retirement planners who help shield you from risks.

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