Broker Check

Embracing Change

| April 10, 2024

As the last chick leaves the nest, the transition into empty nest hood brings a myriad of emotions and adjustments. While it's natural to continue supporting your children financially, this stage also presents a prime opportunity to reassess and prioritize your own financial future. Embracing this new chapter involves striking a delicate balance between nurturing your children's financial needs and securing your own long-term stability and prosperity.

As parents, our natural instinct is to provide our children with more opportunities than we had ourselves. We aim to support them as they transition from students to graduates entering the workforce. However, in this pursuit, we often overlook our own financial well-being. Retirement looms ahead, yet we push it to the back of our minds, procrastinating on taking steps to secure our financial future. Some cling to the belief that social security and government support will suffice, but this couldn't be further from the truth.

Allow me to give you a dose of reality: Social Security is now expected to run short of cash by 2035! So, if you are planning on retiring in 11 years, you better find another solution for retirement income.

According to the Social Security website, SSA.Gov, "Currently, the Social Security Board of Trustees projects program cost to rise by 2035 so that taxes will be enough to pay for only 75 percent of scheduled benefits. This increase in cost results from population aging, not because we are living longer, but because birth rates dropped from three to two children per woman.” https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v70n3/v70n3p111.html.

Well, those of you who argue the contrary, that SS will be there, and nothing to worry about. Let me put that into perspective for you! Let's say you are right, will the income checks still be enough to sustain your retirement expenses? Did you know that when you begin collecting Social Security, your payments will automatically shrink as the following can impact your net income check:

  • Medicare premiums will be deducted from your SS check: As soon as you turn age 65, you will sign up for Medicare, some of the cost will be taken out of your SS check.
  • Taxes! You will still need to pay taxes on the SS check. As a result, you can withhold taxes directly from the check or you can pay it upon filing.
  • What if you want to continue to work while opting for your SS income? Before Full Retirement Age (between age 66 and 67), your benefit payment will be temporarily reduced if you earn more than your earnings limit. You can work after Full Retirement Age and earn as much as you’d like without reducing your benefit payment.
  • Timing your first benefit payment: Although this is not affecting your ongoing paycheck, I thought you should know this tip to help you plan. You can time your first benefit payment to avoid a gap in income. Your first check won't arrive until the month after the one you pick in your application. You can apply any time up to four months before the month you pick. For example, you want your first check in April. Follow this timing:
    • Apply in November, December, January, February, or March.
    • Pick March in the application.
    • Get the first check in April!
    • Government workers, military workers, railroad: If you get a pension from a government job or a job worked in a foreign country, your monthly Social Security benefit amount may be reduced. There are rules around each of these occupations, you should consider speaking with your local SS office: https://www.ssa.gov/prepare/special-earnings.

The moral of this information is to NOT count on Social Security for your retirement needs. Balance your love for your children with your own financial security.

Let us help you plan ahead for your retirement income needs so that you can enjoy your golden years.

I invite you to schedule a consultation. Whether you have questions, need tailored advice, or want to explore how we can assist you further, we're here for you. You can reach us at (858) 251-4545, send me an e-mail at susan.alefi@lpl.com, or simply visit our website: serenityfinancialplanning.com. We're eager to hear from you and embark on this journey together.

One final mention, we now offer tax preparation and tax planning services. You can find information at taxwisepros.com.