Checklist for Retirement

Part 2

Posted 10/12/22

Hopefully, you read the Checklist for Retirement – Part I, which was my last article.  This is a continuation of the Checklist for Retirement.  If you missed the first part, simply …

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Checklist for Retirement

Part 2


Hopefully, you read the Checklist for Retirement – Part I, which was my last article.  This is a continuation of the Checklist for Retirement.  If you missed the first part, simply contact our office, and we can email you a copy of the article.

The next topic in the checklist is very important and can be very confusing.  Strategies to  maximize your Social Security Benefits; it’s important to know what your monthly Social Security retirement benefit amounts will be for you (and your spouse if applicable) at various ages. 

We recommend setting up an account on the Social Security website, It may take a little time to work through the challenge questions like knowing what bank financed your first automobile, etc., but once you get onto the site, it’s worth it! Also, knowing that the Social Security Administration is trying to protect your identity by asking these questions should provide you with some comfort knowing that they are trying to protect your identity.

You should obtain your Social Security retirement benefit estimates for age 62, your Full Retirement Age (FRA), and Age 70. The FRA of 66 is for those born in 1954 or before.  The system adds 2 months for each year of birth starting in 1955 up to 1960.  For those born in 1960 or after, your full retirement age is 67. 

These Social Security benefit amounts are estimates based on your earnings record over your work history that includes the highest 35 years of earnings projected out to the various retirement ages.  If you do not have 35 years of earnings, you will have some zeros in your calculation which will reduce your benefit amounts. 

Social Security inflation adjusts your older annual amounts to today’s value then takes the highest 35 years of earnings to calculate your monthly benefit amount.  Your last year of reported earnings is assumed to be continued until your retirement ages; 62, 66-67, or age 70, which may or may not be the case. It is important for you to know what your anticipated Social Security retirement monthly benefits will be as that is likely your foundation of monthly income.  Sadly, most people no longer have a pension from their private industry employer. (, n.d.)

Once you know your Social Security monthly benefit amount, you can determine how much more you may need in your savings, investment, or retirement accounts to retire and cover your monthly living expenses.

In addition to your Social Security, you should total all expected income from all sources including monthly pension benefits if available, annuity payments or investment income expected from your portfolio. Determining a reasonable rate of drawdown is important for long-term sustainability of your investments.  If you withdraw too much early in your retirement, you may run out of money before you pass away.

One major issue we often see when evaluating a prospective client’s portfolio is excessive risk.

We often discuss the importance of reducing risk in your investments as you get closer to retirement.  It is important to understand the level of risk that is in your investment portfolio and understand how that level of risk may affect the value of your retirement portfolio given increasing and decreasing market conditions.  Identifying the level of risk in a portfolio is a key part of any good retirement plan.  There are various software programs that we use to determine the extent of risk within your current portfolio.

As you get closer to your retirement date, it’s important to understand that if the stock market goes way down, you may not recover in time to meet your original retirement date.  It’s more important to hold onto what you have and get a “reasonable” return versus being too aggressive in the years just prior to retirement and risk losing too much.

If you would like to access a risk assessment tool, you can go to our website and click on the “What’s your risk number?” box.  That will take you to the software, where, in less than 5 minutes working through the questions, you will get a risk score. 

That is a good starting point.  The next step is to have your portfolio evaluated to determine the risk level of your portfolio.  Then compare your score with the score of your portfolio to see how close they are.  The closer the scores the better it is.  If those two numbers are too far apart, then a portfolio adjustment would be prudent.  Lastly, the software will identify if you are too risky relative to your proximity to retirement.  If that is the case, again, an adjustment of risk would be prudent.

Needless to say this is a lot of information to absorb, so consider working with a professional advisor, preferably a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional.  You can find a local CFP® by going to and click on the “find a CFP® professional” button in the upper right corner.

For more information contact Massey And Associates, Inc., Retirement Wealth Advisors at (401) 333-8000 and  The office is located at 250F Centerville Road in Warwick, RI.


“Investment advisory services made available through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Massey and Associates are not affiliated companies. Insurance products are offered through the insurance business. Massey and Associates is also an Investment Advisory practice that offers products and services through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM), a Registered Investment Adviser. AEWM does not offer insurance products. The insurance products offered by Massey and Associates are not subject to Investment Advisor requirements. AEWM and Massey and Associates are not affiliated companies. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency. Neither the firm nor its agents or representatives may give tax or legal advice. Individuals should consult with a qualified professional for guidance before making any purchasing decisions. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® in the U.S. “AE Wealth Management and Riskalyze are not affiliated companies. AE Wealth Management cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the Riskalyze software or outputs. Riskalyze is intended to be used as a tool in designing a financial portfolio.” 1491858 9/22


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