If you are feeling stressed out about your ability to retire,
financial planner Bijan Golkar, vice president and senior adviser
with FPC Investment Advisory near San Francisco,
says you’re not alone.
Golkar says retirement
planning-related high anxiety doesn’t just afflict those with
modest incomes and savings. “I have clients with $3 million
portfolios who aren’t sure that they can retire,” he says.
Whatever a client’s income level, Golkar advises them to take
- Track your income. For at
least a month write down every dime you spend. Use that as a
starting point. “It’s enlightening,” Golkar says. “People really
see where their money goes.”
- Make a budget. Take the
information that you’ve tracked and combine it with information you
glean from last year’s credit card statements and tax returns to
estimate total spending. Be sure to include the extras, like the
cost of vacations or how much you give the grandkids, Golkar
- Consider the cost of
healthcare. Health insurance is “ridiculously
expensive,” Golkar says. He tells people that while they can’t plan
for every eventuality, having an idea of how they’d pay for care
following a debilitating accident or illness should be part of
- Add up savings and other
assets. If you do this when you have at least five or 10
years to go, you’ll have time to make adjustments and even double
down on your savings strategy.
- Calculate retirement income.
Get pension estimates and figure out your approach to Social
Security. Golkar says most people either want to take Social
Security right away or they want to delay until age 70. He advises
many people to choose a middle ground, so they can enjoy their
lives while they are still fairly young.
- Figure out cash flow. Adjust
until you’ve satisfied yourself that you have a plan that
“Some people try to get down to the nitty-gritty,” Golkar says.
“I tell them, you’re not going to have a perfect game. All you are
trying to do is reassure yourself that you aren’t taking too much
risk or too little, so you can enjoy life and not stress out.”