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Tags: retirement income | goals | savings | social security | medicare

Chris Orestis, Retirement Genius: What Is Retirement Today?

Retirement dreams

Chris Orestis By Wednesday, 23 February 2022 01:10 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Newsmax Finance readers, we have a special editorial feature we are introducing, a new monthly Q&A in partnership with Chris Orestis, aka “Retirement Genius,” and Newsmax Finance Editor Lee Barney.

Orestis, who has been a Newsmax Finance Insider columnist for five years, will address critical issues retirees and near retirees need to face head on—such as how to live in a time of inflation, and the best way to find and work with a financial planner.

In this first installment, Orestis answers the topical and ever-changing question: “What Is Retirement Today”

Newsmax Finance: How has the concept of retirement transformed over the decades?

Chris Orestis: The idea of retirement being the time when a person stops working and moves to a sunny location to play golf is very outdated.

Retirement today really means a transition from doing what you have to do to doing what you want to do. To live the best possible retirement, a person will want to stay engaged in meaningful activities that gives their life purpose. If that can generate income, then all the better for extending their finances and their working life.

Living a well-balanced retirement means bringing together financial stability, health and long-term care security—and an active lifestyle. Studies have shown that a person in retirement who is living with this balance between money/health/purpose will live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

NF: What do seniors really want out of their retirement today?

Orestis: Seniors do not want to lose their independence or vitality, and their two biggest fears about retirement are running out of money and declining health making them a burden on their family. Avoiding these outcomes is priority #1, and for many, the best strategy is to continue working or staying actively engaged in meaningful activities to keep busy and bring purpose to their life.

Studies show that people who continue to stay active and/or work in retirement will live longer and healthier than those who come to a sudden halt. In addition, continuing to generate an income on top of Social Security and savings will give people more financial flexibility and security. Working in retirement for as long as possible is a smart move for financial, physical and mental health.

NF: With today’s challenges—inflation and saving enough for retirement being just two—how can people actually reach a secure retirement?

Orestis: The key to reaching a secure retirement is to take advantage of a mix of both pre-tax and tax-deferred savings vehicles and by putting as much money as possible away to start growing for the future and avoiding tapping into those funds until reaching the age for taking required withdrawals.

“Retirement can be one of the most rewarding periods of a person’s life, but getting there takes planning, discipline, and a desire to live an active and purposeful life.” — Chris Orestis

The longer that money can remain undisturbed in tax-advantaged vehicles, the more time people will have to benefit from the impact of compounding growth. One of the smartest financial investments a person can make is to maintain health and do all that is in a person’s control to avoid the need for expensive medical treatments and/or long-term care in the future. Nothing will undermine quality of life and wipe out financial resources faster than deteriorating health.

NF: What are some myths and facts about retirement?

Orestis: There are a number of misconceptions around entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare that can undermine a person's retirement. It would be very difficult to live in Social Security alone, as the average monthly benefit is only about $1,600/month.

While the Social Security Administration does give people the option to being taking their benefit as early as age 62, they should wait until the get closer to the full retirement age of 70 to get the highest possible monthly benefit for which they qualify.

Also, Medicare is not a one-size-fits-all program. People need to do their homework to make sure they are picking the right plan for them. There are about 3,700 different plan options to choose from, and people should take advantage of the annual enrollment period to make sure they have what they need to meet their medical and financial needs.

NF: What advice would you give someone who wants to retire within 5 years?

Orestis: Retirement will typically last longer and be more expensive than most people realize. And though it is never too late to start saving and living healthy, the sooner someone gets started, the better. For someone within a five-year window to retirement, it would make sense to get a firm grasp on their budget, start downsizing and reducing their expenses, map out what kind of lifestyle they realistically can afford to live, and work with professional advisors such as a financial planner and estate attorney.

Retirement can be one of the most rewarding periods of a person’s life, but getting there takes planning, discipline, and a desire to live an active and purposeful life.
Chris Orestis is a nationally recognized senior care advocate and expert in retirement, long-term care and specialty senior living funding solutions. The author of two books, numerous published papers and articles, and a frequent industry speaker; he is the innovator that brought the LTC Life Settlement into the market over a decade ago.

© 2022 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

Newsmax Finance is introducing, a new monthly Q&A in partnership with Chris Orestis, aka "Retirement Genius," with this month's installment on "What Is Retirement Today."
retirement income, goals, savings, social security, medicare
Wednesday, 23 February 2022 01:10 PM
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