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Golf and retirement go hand-in-hand: Reaching your financial goals

Local financial professional Tom Jacobs from Jacobs Financial Services explains how golf and retirement go hand-in-hand.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Golf and retirement often go hand-in-hand. But, even if golf isn't your sport, there are a few things you can learn from the game to help reach your financial goals.

Set Up a Strategy
Golf isn’t just about the mechanics of a good swing; a good strategy at each hole can save you countless shots on the course.

When it comes to retirement planning, the majority of Americans do not have a written financial strategy. A retirement withdrawal strategy is a key piece of your overall retirement plan.

Between your employer-sponsored retirement account, Social Security and your personal retirement savings accounts, you will need a strategy for how much and from where you will withdraw money in retirement.

When I first meet a client, I get to know them and their retirement goals. Once I have a good understanding of what they want their future to look like, I put together a road-map for retirement. This road-map is a written guide, showing how to make their money last throughout their lives. It’s a freeing experience for clients to know they will be financially secure during retirement.

For help on creating a retirement strategy, there's more information at jacobsfs.com

Health Care
Health care is one of the biggest expenses retirees face. The average 65-year-old couple retiring today will spend an average of $285,000 on health care costs in retirement.

Medicare coverage is available at age 65, but it’s important to remember that Medicare only covers about 50-60% of retirees’ healthcare needs, and premiums and out-of-pocket expenses will go up over time.

Long-term care is also not covered by Medicare. An insurance policy or an annuity rider can help fund long-term care needs. Sit down with your financial professional to put a plan in place to pay for health care and long-term care expenses before you retire.

Many people don’t think about their tax liabilities in retirement. If your nest egg is saved in a traditional 401(k) or a traditional IRA, that money is not all yours. These are tax-deferred accounts, meaning you will owe the IRS when you withdraw your savings in retirement.

By saving in a Roth IRA, or converting a traditional IRA to a Roth, you will pay taxes on the money now but can withdraw tax-free in retirement.

Depending on your financial situation, now might be a great time to consider converting your accounts to a Roth.

Stock Market Volatility
As we tee off, we are thinking about our long game with one goal in mind - to reach the green. In retirement, the long game is extremely important. Don’t let stock market volatility throw you off course.

It has been 10 years since the height of the Great Recession, and most retirement savers took a big financial hit as the stock market crashed. However, those who understood the importance of a long term approach to investing have reaped the rewards.

It’s important you don’t act on emotions. If you have the proper long-term plan in place, a stock market drop shouldn’t be something to fear.

Diversification & Risk Tolerance
As you reach the green, you adjust your clubs and rely on your short game. As you approach retirement, you need to adjust your risk tolerance. 

Your risk tolerance and asset allocation should be adjusted as you age; it is especially important to dial down on risk the closer you get to retirement.

A good rule of thumb is the Rule of 100; subtract your age from 100. For example, if you are 60 years old, only 40% of your portfolio should be exposed to riskier investments such as stocks.

This is a general rule, and your portfolio should be tailored to your unique financial situation and how comfortable you are with risk.

To learn more about reaching your financial goals and retiring in comfort, visit www.jacobsfs.com.

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