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Financial planners, especially those specializing in retirement issues, tailor saving strategies to ensure that a client can live a comfortable lifestyle during his or her retirement years.
The first task of retirement planners is to meet with clients (or set up a phone consultation) to gather information. They must ascertain a client's net worth by collecting tax forms, insurance papers, and data regarding income, assets and debts, and trusts, among other information. Then the planner determines what the client's needs and goals will be for his or her retirement years. There is a big difference between simple living and first class travel to exotic locales. Relocation and medical insurance are also major concerns to address. Once the data is compiled, the retirement planner researches and presents the best means to achieve the client's retirement objectives.
A good retirement planner will assess a client's financial history—pointing out relevant areas such as tax returns, insurance policies, company savings plans, and investments. Planners also identify what areas, if any, a client needs to strengthen, such as improving investment returns or consolidating debts. They will discuss investment preferences and risk levels comfortable to the client. Traditional sources of retirement funds include Social Security, personal savings (IRAs, stocks and bonds, real estate, and other investments), employer-sponsored plans, post-retirement employment, and inheritance.
Retirement planners also help prepare clients for the possibility of incapacity, disability, and the need for chronic-illness care during retirement. Disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, or a medical savings account may be suggested as precautions for such situations. Many companies, in an attempt to restructure or downsize, offer their employees the option for early retirement, complete with incentives. Retirement planners are consulted as to the benefits or downfalls of early retirement.
Many retirement planners stay in frequent touch with their clients, with some checking in quarterly. The economy and stock market are often volatile and clients' needs and situations change, so it is imperative to make constant assessments. A yearly reevaluation is necessary, at minimum. Such considerations are key to maintaining good rapport with clients and helping them to stay on track for a financially stable retirement.