Take Control: Plan for Your Retirement

Baheru Mengistu
PBUCC Pension Counselor

Like planning for other major phases of life, planning your ideal retirement is going to be affected by elements beyond your control. Thankfully, there are several decisions and steps you can take that are directly in your control.

First, there is no one-size-fits-all retirement plan. Retirement planning is comprised of many steps and individual decisions. Intentional planning will help you reduce stress and mitigate the effects of an uncertain future.

two people on computer

Part of the unique nature of planning is that it’s never really finished. Retirement planning, like the very similar estate planning, needs to be revisited periodically to account for changes in circumstances. A new addition to your family, a sudden increase in long-term expenses, or changes to your life expectancy can all mean that a previous plan should be amended to accommodate your new reality. One of the first questions you will need to ask, and revisit is: When will my retirement start?

Consider carefully your retirement start date.

The start of retirement usually means the end of your employment, the beginning of Social Security benefits, and the start of your Lifetime Retirement Income Plan monthly payments or other retirement income. Delaying any or all of the above for as long as possible can result in larger benefits later. So, consider carefully your retirement start date.

Alternatively, working part-time can provide purpose to your retirement as well as additional income. Keep in mind your current net worth, your expected expenses and income, and even the trajectory of your career, as all these factors will be critical when reviewing the question of when to start the retirement phase of your life.

elderly woman on computer

Beyond the financial aspects of retirement, there are also less quantitative and more qualitative aspects to consider. Retirement does not have to mean the end of your contributions to your church and community. The benefits of your hard-won knowledge and experience can still be levied in retirement, either through individual mentorship or volunteering. Retired clergy can provide valuable insight for churches other than the ones where they spent their career.

We know that retirement planning can be daunting.

Many of us are not well-versed in financial matters nor particularly comfortable envisioning the end of our lives. But like so many other aspects of life, when you endure that discomfort, you reap the benefits of planning for whatever the future holds. When it comes to retirement, the Pension Boards is here to help minimize that discomfort and maximize the benefit you derive from planning appropriately according to your circumstances. Discussions with financial planners and Pension Counselors can ensure that your transition into the next phase of your life is as unencumbered by anxiety and doubt as possible.

Consider these tips:

  • Discuss your anticipated retirement date well in advance with a Pension Boards Pension Counselor.
  • Speak to a financial advisor about your debt and how your expenses may change in retirement.
  • Use the tools available at the Fidelity NetBenefits® website to get a better sense of your current financial outlook.
  • Don’t forget about Social Security! Estimate your benefits by logging into your account at ssa.gov.
  • Since your health insurance expenses may change once you are eligible for Medicare (age 65), find more information at pbucc.org and medicare.gov.

To reach our Pension Counselors, please call 1.800.642.6543.