We can discuss a lot of theories and goals as they relate to retirement planning such as guaranteed income, maximizing Social Security, asset allocation, etc., but research shows that folks who put their retirement plan in writing are more likely to be successful in managing income, assets and expenses in their retirement years.
Think about it for a second. Most self-help books and motivational experts usually encourage us to start by putting pen to paper and making a concrete reminder of our aspirations that we can read, touch and go back to for guidance.
A recent study from the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute indicates that the benefits of having a formal written retirement plan are overwhelming. Those who have a written plan are:
- More likely to consider asset consolidation.
- More likely to consider retirement products that can offer guaranteed income.
- Generally have more confidence in feelings of security in their long term assumptions.
I am a visual person and I will respond better to concepts or ideas when I can read and see what someone is trying to convey to me. Concepts like lifetime income, taxes and Social Security maximization are no different. My business partner and I are both advocates of easy to understand spreadsheets and graphs that illustrate these concepts.
Many folks have their own family balance sheets or budgets, but few will attempt to project to the future, on paper, with considerations such as cost of living increases or potential volatility in the economy. But this in our opinion, is a very helpful exercise for long term goals and planning.