During your working years, you generally know how much money you’re bringing in, so you can budget accordingly. However, with some diligence, you can put together a retirement “paycheck” to meet your income needs.
Where will this paycheck come from? Social Security benefits should replace about 40% of your pre-retirement earnings, according to the Social Security Administration, but this figure varies widely, based on an individual’s circumstances. Typically, the higher your income before you retire, the lower the percentage replaced by Social Security. But in any case, you might need to draw heavily on your investment portfolio to fill out your paycheck.
Your portfolio can provide income in these ways:
• Dividends. When you were working and didn’t have to depend on your portfolio for income, you might have reinvested your dividends from stocks and stock-based mutual funds, increasing the number of shares you own in these investments. And that was a good move because increased share ownership is a great way to help build wealth. But once you’re retired, you might need to start accepting the dividends to boost your cash flow.
• Interest payments. The payments from bonds and other fixed-income investments, such as certificates of deposit, also can add to your retirement income. In the years immediately preceding their retirement, some investors increase these interest-paying investments in their portfolio.
• Proceeds from selling investments. While you might need to begin selling investments once you’re retired, you’ll need to be careful not to liquidate your portfolio too quickly. It depends on several factors — your age, your portfolio size, the amount of other income you receive, your spouse’s income, your retirement lifestyle and so on. A financial professional can help you determine the appropriate amount and type of investment sales to meet your needs, while considering your portfolio needs over your lifetime.
When tapping into your investments as part of your retirement paycheck, you’ll also want to pay special attention to the amount of cash in your portfolio. It’s a good idea to have enough cash available to cover a year’s worth of living expenses. You also might want to set aside sufficient cash for emergencies. Not only will these cash cushions help you with the cost of living and unexpected expenses, but they also might enable you to avoid digging deeper into your long-term investments than you would like.
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial adviser. Edward Jones, member SIPC
– Roberto De Jesus is a financial adviser for the Edward Jones branch on Cedarcrest Road in Acworth.