“So, you want to retire?” I’ve had countless retirement conversations with clients that begin with this question, but as I shift into my own retirement, the question carries new significance. If I’m being completely honest, the question goes more like this, “So you really think you want to retire?”
I’ve had ambivalence about this change in my life. While I very much look forward to my next chapter, I also know I will miss the work I do at Carlson Capital Management. As a result of this ambivalence, I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating this change and here are a few of my thoughts.
I will not underestimate the major mind shift of going from an accumulation mentality to a distribution one.
My husband and I have been saving for retirement in our 401(k) accounts for over 40 years. Even when we were in the “lean years” of funding our children’s higher educations, we made it a priority to contribute to our 401(k) accounts knowing that one day the funds would allow us to retire. I am coming to terms with the end of my human capital years and our related retirement savings regiment, and am warming up to the idea that investment capital, as well as Social Security, will be the sources of our income for the remainder of our lives. Without question, it is a new way of thinking.
I will soon need a virtual paycheck.
Instead of the monthly payroll compensation from CCM that has been going into my checking account for years, I will establish a monthly distribution amount from my investment accounts. I’m still working on that “right” amount, knowing that I will have more time for travel and other things. We fully intend to embrace our “go-go years” for the foreseeable future as well as get more involved in our community, which could lead to more charitable giving.
My CCM tax advisor has suddenly become even more important to me.
Not only will we need help determining the best way to get that virtual paycheck, but we also want to take advantage of Roth conversions and other tax opportunities that make sense. We have a few years before required minimum distributions from IRAs begin, and we intend to delay receiving our Social Security benefits, so we are interested in knowing how we can maximize our tax situation both now and over the long term.
I will remind myself when necessary that money and investing can be very emotional, and so it will be important to stay disciplined with our investment and cash flow strategy.
I do not intend to check my account balances every day, maybe not even every week, because I know that when markets go down, it won’t be helpful to note how much our accounts have declined. Instead, I will make sure that I’m comfortable with our investment strategy and asset allocation.
While retirement is on the horizon for me and my role at the firm will change, I’m grateful to be transitioning into the seat of a CCM client and relying on my advisor (yes, even advisors have advisors!) to continue to educate and guide me during this transition and beyond. I know that CCM will be a valuable resource to me and my family in the years ahead, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to make my retirement a reality.
NOTE: The information provided in this article is intended for clients of Carlson Capital Management. We recommend that individuals consult with a professional adviser familiar with their particular situation for advice concerning specific investment, accounting, tax, and legal matters before taking any action.