New Year, Great Retirement

Written By: Ryan Rinehart

It’s officially 2024, and whether or not you’re someone who likes to participate in New Year’s resolutions, I always think the beginning of the new year is a great time to determine if you’re on the right path to achieve the goals you have in life. Whether that’s financially, in your relationships, or even what type of vacations you want to take. I’m someone that loves to sit down early and map out my year. I think it’s a great opportunity to hit refresh on my goals and make sure what I’m doing daily is helping me achieve those goals.

I know you’re not here to read about my goals, so instead I wanted to write about three things that you can tackle early in the year that will help make sure you’re still on the right path in retirement.

Review your Expenses

When it comes to your retirement plan, a lot of times expenses can be the most important part of the entire puzzle. I recommend sitting down and trying to determine exactly how much you spent in 2023. Try to establish how much was spent on utilities, groceries, dining out, entertainment, etc. What I’ve found is a lot of folks do this and determine they are spending quite a bit more than they realized. Catching this early in the year can really help you be conscious of this as you start the new year. If you feel that you’re spending too much, a great exercise I always recommend is to sit down with your spouse/partner and go through all your expenses. Once you have each category figured out to the best of your ability, go to separate rooms and rank the categories you spend money on. For example, if you love getting Starbucks multiple times a week, you will rank that very high where your spouse/partner may not. This doesn’t mean Starbucks goes away. Instead, I want you to focus on finding the things on your list that you both ranked lower. Maybe you pay for a bunch of subscriptions that you realize neither of you want that badly, or maybe it’s something bigger like a vacation home that you don’t value as much you both thought you did. This is just a great way to make sure you’re spending money on the things you truly enjoy, and helps you cut out the things you do not.

Plan for the big purchases

I think it’s always a great idea to have a plan for the big purchases you will make in a new year. If you’re wanting to buy a new car for each of you, it may not be the best time to also start a kitchen renovation. Especially in retirement, if you have to take more distributions out of your retirement accounts that weren’t accounted for in your plan for that year, it will likely have a significant impact on your tax situation.

Review Your Estate Plan

This one can be extremely simple, but I think it’s important to review this each year. Make sure the estate plan you have in place is the one you still want. This could be as simple confirming you have the proper beneficiaries set up on each account. Either way, I think the beginning of the year is a great time to confirm this is still set up correctly. If you realize it needs updated, it’s extremely important to not delay. It’s something that can be really easy to put off, but I promise if you get it updated you will be happy you did.

I think all three areas listed above are certainly achievable and really shouldn’t take too much time out of your day if you spread them out. Maybe spreading them out and trying to accomplish each one during separate weeks is the ideal plan for you, or you might be someone that wants to knock out all three in a couple days. Either way, I think doing this will have you feeling much better about your retirement plan as we get going in 2024.

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