Taking stock of how you live today can help you develop a plan for your retirement years, says Dawn Marchand, vice-president of marketing, product and direct distribution for Lawyers Financial, which offers insurance and investment products to lawyers, their families and staff.
“You have to look at how you spend today to determine what you’re going to need in retirement,” says Marchand. “We’ll spend weeks picking out a new TV or car, go to four different stores to pick out a new pair of shoes, but we don’t spend much time looking at our own finances, and it's because we don’t want to. Many find it daunting.”
She says lawyers usually don’t give much thought to their retirement plans until they are in their 40s or 50s.
“And, most lawyers will likely have a need for high income in retirement to maintain their lifestyle and family obligations,” Marchand tells AdvocateDaily.com.
Like most people, those in the legal community should start planning early because their “needs before and after retirement could be vastly different,” she says.
“The reality is people think they need a whole bunch of money but really haven’t looked at what they realistically might require,” Marchand says.
She says Lawyers Financial can help steer lawyers and legal staff on the right path to planning for retirement. And the first thing she recommends is figuring out your present expenses and what you would like to do at the end of your career.
“What you want to be able to do is go to your advisor with some idea about how much you spend today and how that might change in retirement. Your advisor can point out a number of things that will probably change in retirement that you hadn’t thought of,” Marchand says.
“A lawyer’s most valuable asset is time, and so in order to really nail this, you’ve got to invest some time to figure out your current situation.”
She explains that it’s human nature to put retirement in the back of your mind since “you’re busy living in the moment.” However, it’s important to take stock of your current fixed and flexible expenses.
“You want to start thinking what would be different in retirement, what are some of the potential cuts to my expenses, and what are some of the potential adds,” Marchand says. “What do you see yourself doing in retirement? Do you see yourself travelling the world? Volunteering close to home? There are many different questions you should ask yourself before meeting with your adviser and say, ‘OK, here’s what I know.’”
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