The 3 Treks of Retirement Planning

A Retirement Trek-list

If you’re within 5-7 years of retirement, you’re in a critical period – if you take action now, you may still be able to make up for past financial missteps. The decisions you make now will define your retirement lifestyle and your ability to retire successfully. This trail map is designed to highlight your strengths and weaknesses of retirement preparation.

Go through each section of this Trail, consider the Trek-lists and take action. As you go, jot down any questions or concerns you may have and save them for your advisor. Don’t have an advisor – or want a second opinion? Reach out to a Trek Advisor.

Trek #1: A Holistic Income Strategy

I know how much I will need to cover my expenses each month in retirement (approx. 80% of your current monthly budget is a solid estimate).

I have estimates for how much extra I will spend each year on travel, home improvements, gifts, medical care, and other one-off expenses.

I have a clear understanding of other income I will receive from sources such as Social Security, pensions, annuities, veteran’s benefits, etc.

I understand that a retired couple need $300,000+ to cover healthcare expenses after age 65, and my income plan accounts for those expenses.1

My income strategies account for inflation (e.g. if I need $100,000 this year, I will need ~$186,0000 in 20 years to have the same quality of life at 3% inflation).

I understand all my Social Security options and how to maximize my guaranteed lifetime income.

My spouse and I have coordinated our claiming strategies to help maximize our income.

Our income strategy helps protect a surviving spouse from loss of income.

I have adequate liquid cash on hand for emergencies and unexpected expenses so that I’m not forced to liquidate investments.

A financial professional has looked over my income strategy to identify any problems or mistakes.

Trek #2: A Market Readiness Strategy

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

I have completed a risk questionnaire and understand all the risks I’m taking with my retirement savings.

I understand that my investing strategy will need to change in retirement so I don’t run out of money later in life.

My income strategy includes income strategies built to help protect my lifestyle from market volatility.

I understand “sequence-of-returns” risk and that withdrawing too much when my portfolio has lost value can have a lasting negative effect on my retirement.

I have run multiple portfolio scenarios with different growth and inflation assumptions and am confident that my withdrawal needs are “safe.”

My income plan is flexible, and I’ve planned for the inevitable ups an downs of the stock market.

A financial professional has reviewed my investment strategy and assumptions to identify and potential problems.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

Trek #3: A Forward-Thinking Tax Strategy

I have reviewed my strategies in light of recent changes in tax legislation to make sure I’m using every opportunity to potentially lower my taxes now and in the future.

I understand how Taxable, Tax-Deferred, and Tax-Free wealth buckets work, and my drawdown strategy helps maximize my after-tax income.

I understand that Medicare and Social Security depend on the future fiscal stability of the U.S.

I understand that the debt held by the U.S. is expected to break historical records by the 2030s (surpass 100% of GDP) and that my future tax rates are likely to increase.2

I am staying attuned of changing tax rules and working with a financial professional to proactively plan for future taxes.

It’s okay not to have all the answers ...

It’s okay not to have all the answers to the questions in these Trek-lists. What’s important is identifying where you still need to take action. 

Even if you feel comfortable with your current retirement plan, getting a second opinion is always a great way to find out if the changes from any new retirement regulations could impact your current strategy.


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Investment advisory services are offered through Trek Financial, LLC., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered specific investment advice, does not take into consideration your specific situation, and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed. Be sure to consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein.
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