Updated: Jun 15, 2022
From putting an investment strategy in place now to making decisions about how you’d like to spend your time during your golden years, retirement planning helps you reach your goals. The next step is making sure that the legacy you’ve worked your whole life to build stays secure and that’s where estate planning comes in.
When you think about it, managing your estate plan alongside your retirement plan is a smart move for many reasons including the fact that planning ahead of time will save you and your family from unnecessary stress (and taxes) down the road.
This article explains why creating an estate plan for yourself in conjunction with retirement planning is important. Continue reading to find out why these two go hand-in-hand and the long-term benefits that will serve you for years to come.
A Big Myth About Estate Planning
From time to time, we hear from someone who thinks that estate planning is only for families with large estates and deep pockets. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, falling for this myth or sidestepping estate planning as a way to avoid thinking about your inevitable passing will cost you and your family in the long run. No matter your cash flow or the size of your estate, failing to create an estate plan puts your family at risk for unnecessary stress and taxes.
Truth-be-told, just about everyone can benefit from estate planning. Young or old, wealthy or middle class, a proper estate plan can significantly reduce the amount of taxes owed to the government as well as other expenses related to your estate. On top of that, a complete estate plan helps streamline the distribution of assets to the next generation while ensuring that the beneficiaries are protected.
💡 Further reading: 11 Estate Planning Myths That Are Holding You Back
The Hardest Part of Estate Planning is Getting Started
We understand that the idea of planning for your retirement, as well as the future needs of your loved ones, may leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to begin.
You may have questions such as: How much do I need to start saving now for my retirement? Can I invest my savings in a way that creates financial growth while still being tax-efficient? How can I make sure my loved ones spend their inheritance wisely?
These are just some of the questions we often hear from our clients at the beginning of the retirement and estate planning process. Not to worry, Ken will make sure you feel well-informed and confident going forward with planning the later stages of your life.
What You Gain From Including an Estate Plan With Your Retirement Plan at Thom & Associates:
Recommendations that allow you to make the most of your current financial situation.
The potential to increase the value of your assets, both for you and your beneficiaries.
A strategic evaluation of your will and business documents such as shareholder agreements.
Knowing whether or not you’ll have enough saved to pay off your final expenses and taxes when the time comes. Alongside suggestions on how to make sure that you do.
Learn how you can make the most of your retirement income.
Strategic insight to minimize taxation through personal and/or business planning.
Advice for business and farm succession planning.
In addition, we can work alongside your lawyer and accountant to ensure that all of the puzzle pieces for your retirement and estate plan fit together properly. It’s important to make sure that everyone involved understands the total picture - not just their piece.
Downsides Of Not Creating an Estate Plan
While we’ve established that working on an estate plan as a part of retirement planning is a smart choice for everyone, we appreciate that some of these topics may feel a bit morbid to talk about. Nonetheless, not having an estate plan in place or refusing to bring your loved ones into the fold will not stop the inevitable from happening.
Without a proper estate plan in place, some of the problems you may face include:
Not having any certainty over how your full financial situation will play out for your family after you pass away.
Legal loopholes resulting in your assets being given to the wrong people.
Tax costs totally diminishing the value of your estate; leaving your family extra costs to cover after you’re gone.
Let’s Work Together to Create a Retirement and Estate Planning Strategy
While it feels natural to plan ahead for the significant moments in your life, planning how your legacy will support the life moments of your loved ones after you pass away may be beyond what you’re comfortable with. That’s the essence of legacy planning and it’s best to be embraced rather than avoided. Your legacy includes how well your assets, interests, and your children’s long-term security will be protected.
In our experience, most people are excited about planning their retirement. Which makes sense - who doesn’t look forward to sailing off into their golden years? Retirement is a comforting concept; something to look forward to as an end goal for your career. In fact, many employers offer, if not require, a retirement plan within the framework of their company’s employee benefits. Estate planning however, because of the emotional toll involved, can bring up feelings of uncertainty and conflict involved with accepting the eventual reality of your own passing.
Retirement and estate planning are more closely related than you may think. Below is why we recommend taking the next step in your retirement planning by creating an estate plan that gives you and your family peace of mind.
4 Reasons Why You Should Make Estate Planning A Part of Your Retirement Plan
They go hand in hand - Both your retirement plan and your estate plan involve your income, investments, and assets. For the amount of effort and time that goes into creating your retirement plan, it’s a smart strategy to go one step further and set out the details of your estate plan. Combining the two is one of the best ways you can be proactive for you and your family’s future.
Plan for what is difficult while it is easy - It makes sense that it’s easier to think about the day you retire compared to the day your executor will need to take over your estate. A retirement plan is straight-forward because you likely know when you plan to retire. Estate planning, however, doesn’t offer you the full certainty of knowing the date it will go into effect. It may be helpful to think of planning the details of your estate around your retirement as a ‘two birds with one stone’ situation that keeps you and your family up to date.
Protect your legacy and children - Hypothetically, without an estate plan, if you suddenly passed away and there wasn’t a surviving spouse to take care of your children, it’s likely that probate court would intervene and choose a legal guardian/conservator for them. It's hard to trust that someone else would make the best choice for your family. Estate planning gives you the power to be in charge of these decisions, even if they remain hypothetical. Taking this further, if you’re second guessing how your child may handle their inheritance, estate planning can help you protect them. Whether they’re still minors, or adults with poor judgment, estate planning gives you the option to restrict access or designate a specific family member to act as a trustee.
Be proactive about your peace of mind - While it’s a lot to take on, once the details of your estate for your children and your legacy are all planned, the sense of relief you feel will be incredible. Bring your family a sense of empowerment by not leaving anything to chance. There is a remarkable amount of accomplishment and control that comes with completing your estate plan.
Estate Planning is Not One Size Fits All
In today’s age, it’s unusual to meet someone who considers their situation to be simple and straightforward. It’s more common to meet with a client who has unique circumstances that require a customized estate plan to ensure that their family and asset situation is properly addressed and planned for.
We prefer to work alongside your legal advisors and accountants to build a complete estate plan that is comprehensive and effectively tailored to your family’s unique needs.
Once your estate plan is complete, we recommend reviewing it every three years to keep up with various life changes. Planning carefully in the first place and then keeping your estate plan up-to-date can keep your family protected, maximize the value of your estate, and minimize the complexity and time to administer your estate when the time comes. It’s a smart investment and the right thing to do.
If you’ve been putting off getting your estate plan together or have questions about how to blend retirement planning into your estate plan, we are more than happy to help. Send us a message or call us today (250-861-7777).