Last minute retirement planning

Best Financial Planning tips for those near retirement

Retirement planning at any age can be a challenge. But if you’ve reached your 50’s or even 60’s, it’s time for serious action.

It’s getting close! For most of your adult life you’ve planned for retirement. Are you ready? Will your transition be as smooth as possible? Or has the sudden reality of an impending retirement hit you, and you realize you’re simply not prepared?

At one time, the common age for retirement was 65, but times have changed. Even the Social Security Administration (SSA) has increased the age when full retirement benefits are available. This is due to longer life spans and of course inflation and the current state of the economy.

Despite these obstacles, when you’re close to retirement you should have a tidy nest egg built. At APO Financial, we understand that life throws many obstacles your way. Some investors have faced the financial hardship of divorce, some have experienced underperforming stocks, some have lost out to a bankrupt employer and some have even fallen victim to cyber crime. As such, you may not be as prepared as you’d hoped. The good news? There is still time to improve your retirement finances in the years leading up to retirement. Let’s take a look.

Deal With Your Debt ASAP

Before you start planning ways to make up your shortfalls, you need to clear your debt. The best time to pay off debt is when you’re still working. If you are planning on retiring soon, prioritize eliminating any credit card balances, student loans, car loans and mortgages. The number of retirees with mortgages, and other lines of debt has skyrocketed. Total household debt swelled by $333 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $15.58 trillion, the largest quarterly increase since 2007, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Credit card debt grew by a record $52 billion in the same period, the Fed reported.

The more time you can put in now towards chipping away at the debt, the sooner you can help ease any burdens you face in the future – and the sooner you can begin to build back your retirement fund.

Conduct a Financial Inventory

As you approach retirement, it’s important to understand how to turn retirement savings into retirement income. Sum up how much you have in your retirement accounts and other investments. Then consider how much income you will need each year during retirement to support your lifestyle. By creating a plan that adjusts from growth and accumulation to income generation and distribution, you can focus your assets on generating consistent money to create a retirement paycheck.

If you find that your current accounts won’t provide the desired income you would like in retirement, you can make some additional changes with your trusted financial advisor. Including investment strategies.

Invest for the Future

Investment losses might be one of the biggest risks to your retirement savings. It’s possible to lose money, and it’s normal to see temporary losses when you invest in the markets. As you near retirement, the conventional wisdom is to reduce risk by investing in safer vehicles, but that’s not the perfect approach for everybody.

It’s crucial to select the right risk level and ensure that your retirement investments are aligned with your goals. For most people, a diversified mix of steady investments is a decent solution. In addition to prudent investing, you can consider guaranteed products that prevent you from losing your retirement money. However, those solutions have pros and cons. In particular, they can limit your flexibility, and they may have high costs or other features that are not ideal for the majority of your retirement savings.

Your full-service financial advisors are equipped to help people at various life stages, including beginner investors who may not have amassed much yet, to those that need more aggressive moves as they near retirement; all while using best practices like risk management.

Clue Yourself Up on RMDs

If you’re saving money in a 401(k) or traditional IRA for your retirement, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with annual required minimum distributions (RMDs)—the minimum amount of money that must be withdrawn from certain retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and traditional IRAs—beginning at age 72 (due to the  SECURE Act of 2020, if you reach 70 ½ in 2020 or later, you must take your first RMD by April 1 of the year after you reach 72). After that, annual withdrawals are due by December 31st each year.

Depending on your situation and financial strategy, you may also use required minimum distributions (RMDs) to build your emergency fund. But beware: Failure to take the RMD by the deadline could cost you a lot of money; as much as a 50% penalty on insufficient or late RMD withdrawals.

Maximize HSA Contributions

One way to pay for health insurance premiums in early retirement or other uncovered expenses later in life is with a robust nest-egg in a health savings account (HSA). If you started funding an HSA this year, your contributions could grow tax free for up to two or three decades, providing a great pot of emergency cash later in life.

Health savings accounts offer a triple benefit. Contributions are also tax-deductible, the money grows tax-deferred from year to year with withdrawals being tax free if used for qualified medical expenses. HSAs are generally tied to high-deductible health insurance plans, so they aren’t for everyone. They are a good option for both consumers who are very healthy, with few healthcare expenses, and for patients who often exceed their annual deductible.

If investing for retirement with tax benefits peaks your interest, you may consider opening a Roth IRA. This account is not attached to your employer or health insurance, but is a great vehicle to earn tax-free gains. Money goes in post-tax, and as long as you don’t touch the funds until you are 59 and a half years old, all gains and withdrawals are tax-fee. With the same index fund strategy used in the HSA, you can help to quickly grow your retirement nest egg.

If you have a 401(k) plan through your employer, look to see if you’re deferring as much of your salary as possible into the account. Workers who are younger than age 50 can contribute a maximum of $20,500 to a 401(k) in 2022. That’s up $1,000 from the limit of $19,500 in 2021. If you’re age 50 and older, you can add an extra $6,500 per year in “catch-up” contributions, bringing your total 401(k) contributions for 2022 to $27,000.

Consider Part-Time Work For Retirement

If you’re concerned about your finances approaching retirement, or you’ve dramatically fallen behind on your retirement plan, now’s a good time to think about how you might earn additional income in retirement by taking a part-time job.

Another option: Get to work figuring out how a hobby or skill might turn into extra income. The consulting economy, for all its flaws, also offers retirees plenty of choices to earn a few extra dollars. Now might be the time to turn your vacation home into an Airbnb rental —or any number of other possibilities! Remember: every extra dollar you earn is a dollar that can keep gaining value in a retirement account for another 10, 20 or even 30 years!

Another possibility is you might be ready to step away from working 40 hours or more each week, but not to completely give up work. In which case, a phased retirement may be for you. A phased retirement brings in some income, and may be a chance to let your current retirement accounts grow for several more years before making withdrawals. Even a few years of this approach can add up to a meaningful swing in the longevity of your nest egg. What’s more, if you’ve been affected by the current financial markets, another perk of a phased retirement is you can give your investments time to recover. This is because you’ll have an additional stream of income so you can fully prepare for the retirement of your dreams.

Finally, if you still haven’t saved enough for retirement, it could be wise to temporarily postpone your plans. You might not be able to get back on track right away—it takes a while to recover from these kinds of setbacks. But if you’re able to put off retiring until 2023—or even longer if possible—you’ll be in a much better position when the time comes.

How APO Can Help

As the global economy continues to struggle, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have your retirement plans in order. Determine what you will need to support your lifestyle in retirement. If you need the help of a financial professional, get it. 

At APO Financial, we have experienced advisors on hand that can help you create a comprehensive retirement plan. Together, we can review your investment portfolio and make sure it’s allocated to preserve your assets as you transition into retirement. Reviewing your plan with your APO advisor will provide peace of mind and allow you to make the adjustments you need to retire according to plan.

Contact us here today for more information about our services, products or approaches. We’ll schedule a meeting that is most convenient and comfortable for you, whether that is in person, virtually or by phone.

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Annuities can be an important part of an overall portfolio but may not be appropriate for everyone. Before purchasing an annuity, it is important to understand the details of the product. Certain products may not be available in your state. The terms of each indexed annuity varies. It is always important to speak to a financial professional. about an annuity’s features, benefits and fees, and whether an annuity is appropriate for you, based on your financial situation and objectives. Participation rates, cap rates and/or index spreads may be subject to change by the insurance company according to the annuity contract provisions. If the insurance company makes such changes, this could adversely affect the return. Guarantees of an indexed annuity are backed by the claims-paying ability of the underwriting insurance company. The surrender charge period for a product may be longer, and the surrender charges may be higher than other annuity products. Indexed annuities are long-term investments. If the annuity contract is surrendered early, there is the possibility of a surrender charge being imposed and/or the funds may be subject to income taxes. The IRS may also impose a 10% penalty on withdrawals prior to age 59 ½, depending on the circumstances. With indexed annuities, there is the potential to lose money, depending on the product charges and minimum guarantee contract provisions. For additional information on annuities, reference the following websites: The FINRA (, the Securities and Exchange Commission (, Insured Retirement Institute (, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners ( or your state's insurance department.