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Things You Need to Consider Before You Retire

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

You likely have many plans for after retirement — travel, hobbies and some much-needed R&R — but area financial experts say that before you enter that phase of your life, you have a few steps to consider in order to ensure your financial security. But don’t go it alone. Dan Hayes, partner and certified long-term care planner with Council Rock Wealth Advisory Group in Rochester, always advises clients to “have a team to do this,” he said. “Your tax preparer is part of this team, along with your attorney, and financial adviser. Those three parts of the team need to talk with each other to help you get to where you need to be.”

We spoke with six experts. Here is what they had to say.


1. “Understand the plan to pay for health care expenses. Particularly for those who plan to retire before 65 and Medicare eligibility, which is at 65. If you want to retire at 62, we would caution against that because unless someone has an unusually short mortality, it’s usually not a good idea. Health care expenses for couples can run $10,000 plus per year. That may be a shock for those who have employer-covered insurance. It could be about half for a single person. Understand COBRA from your employer, what health insurance is available on the exchange and assess any health savings accounts or medical savings accounts you’ve already accumulated. Those can be used to partially offset the cost of health care in retirement, particularly for those under 65.”


Rob Bradley, partner, certified financial planner, and chief investment officer at NorthLanding Financial Partners in Rochester.

2. “At about age 60, think about when you want to collect Social Security benefits. Everyone has a different age to collect full benefits, especially if someone is married. Some people are delaying until age 70. They want to decide who wants to delay and who wants to take benefits. They want to start getting their benefit established by age 60 and if they haven’t already, they should log in and set up an account to review their potential benefits at 62, and full benefits.”

Mike King, principle, Century Benefits Group, Rochester.


3. “The greatest piece of advice I can give any of my clients is to spend less than they make. When you have a budget, it gives you an outline for how much you have to spend every month. That dictates what you need your retirement portfolio to do for you. Any retirement assets, Social Security and pensions can help come together to cover that budget. If you don’t know what you need, you’re operating without a plan.”

Ethan Wade, senior vice president    and financial   adviser, Brighton Securities, Rochester.

4. “A thing people miss is they don’t think proactively about what they’re retiring to. What are you retiring to? If you’re retiring to get away from something, what do you want to accomplish? Explore that before you can’t go back to work.”

Adam Mark, certified financial planner, Wealth Management Group Investing, Rochester.

5. “People have to reassess their portfolios. What they don’t understand is it’s much more difficult and riskier to manage money for income than it is for growth. When you’re working, you put money in a 401k plan and you’re not taking any money out. It’s relatively easy to manage money for pure growth; however, once you start taking an income from it, it gets much more complicated and difficult. I set up a bucket approach. Some people never re-balanced their portfolios from the mid-90s because they felt it was doing phenomenal until 2011, when we had three negative years in a row, which quickly wiped out many people’s retirement. People paid early for that to manage portfolios for income.”

Anthony Mancuso, private wealth advisor, Council Rock Wealth Advisory Group, Rochester and Batavia.


6. “Understand your spending needs. Divide that into what you need for living expenses — the must-haves, like utilities, taxes and medical insurance —and also try to understand what your wants are: vacations, entertainment and things that will cost money when you’re not working 40 hours a week, like hobbies. This is important because you’re looking for your financial resources to be able to support your lifestyle in retirement. You don’t want to retire to discover your resources won’t support your desired lifestyle. That will help you determine if you have sufficient resources to do that. Understand you spending before you retire and then re-evaluate a year or two after you retire to see if any adjustments need to be made.”

Elizabeth Thorley, certified financial planner, president and CEO, Thorley Wealth Management, Pittsford.