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article imageOp-Ed: Fill your retirement bucket before you kick the bucket Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Jun 11, 2014 in Business
Sonoma - In the second of his "summer school" for financial success talks, financial advisor Daren Blonksi of Edward Jones said, "Think about how you want to fill your bucket of retirement money before you 'kick-the-bucket?' It is important to think about this."
About a dozen people gathered at the CPA office of Zainer Rinehart Clarke on June 10 to listen to Blonski share his knowledge about the importance of preparing for retirement. "Even for those already in retirement, it is vital that they keep focus on how they want their retirement to be," he said.
He asked those gathered that Tuesday evening to really think about how they wish to live as they retire. "You all know of the movie "The Bucket List," well, what do you want to do before you kick the bucket?" Asking the audience to speak up and say what it was they would like to do or have before they die, words like "travel" "leave money behind for family" "better health" and so on spurted out and Blonski wrote them down on the presentation board.
"I can think of about six things I want to do, but among the most important for me is being able to spend more time with family," said Julie Jones. She is a consultant who specializes in helping people organize their important estate documents in an organizer-binder system that she created.
Regardless of the objective or goal in retirement, Blonski pointed out that any type of lifestyle in retirement will have to be viewed as a "Retirement by Design," he said. "Typically, money is a driving force behind many things, said Blonski. Yet, you must take time to plan your retirement, even when you are retired, because there are always obstacles to goals in life."
Then he asked, "what are some of the obstacles to your retirement goals and plans?" No one knows how much time we have to live and so time or more like the lack of it can be a hindrance to retirement planning. Same goes for health. Good health or staying healthy is an important goal. But there are no guarantees about one's health.
Still  Blonski advises that people must take the time to  design their retirement  and to  fill that...
Still, Blonski advises that people must take the time to "design their retirement" and to "fill that bucket of funds before you kick-the-bucket." "Think of the bucket as your fun bucket. You will not have any fun or enjoyment in retirement unless you fill the bucket," he said.
Putting together a financial portfolio is an important step to funding retirement and to continue funding retirement. "It is super critical that you understand the time-frame of all your financial goals and what it will take to get there," he said.
He mentioned to those gathered that they should take a look at all their assets, income and the things they could turn into assets, such as property, stocks, bonds, etc.
"As you plan out your retirement, look at the various financial products and vehicles you have such as an IRA, 401-k, pension, stock-dividends, annuity, etc." Can some of these things you own be liquefied, rolled over or cashed in? "
 It is important you know the details in how Individual Retirement Accounts work and which type of I...
"It is important you know the details in how Individual Retirement Accounts work and which type of IRA you have," said Kerri Berry, CPA of Zainer Rinehart Clarke. "Do you have a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA?" These have different rules, especially about exemptions and taxes." Taking the time to review this with your accountant-CPA is crucial for helping to fund your retirement plans and goals.
Understand how they work, know what the particular pay-out schedule is," he said. "For example, do they pay out monthly, quarterly or annually?" "And, what are the rules and regulations behind them?"
Are there penalties if withdrawn early? What are the tax rates as well as the tax rules behind them?
Regardless of what type of financial product or means you use, will these be able to fund your goals? "You must know how much you will need for your particular lifestyle in retirement," he said. This is why thinking about retirement, even if now retired is very important.
Blonski noted that most people will depend on a form of Social Security benefit to help fund retirement. Or in some instances SSA benefits will be their entire retirement income. "Know the rules about Social Security and know what your needs are. Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself in seeking more information," he said.
Dealing with bureaucracies can be frustrating. But making the effort to get all the correct information will help you. Blonski also mentioned that for some people in their retirement goals, keeping a job a bit longer or taking on a part time job might be the best way to fill up the 'fun bucket' as he called it, for retirement.
Blonski also mentioned that as he sees it, "all good retirement and estate planning firmly rests on a 'three-legged stool.' One leg is a financial advisor like myself, the other is a knowledgeable and helpful CPA and the third leg is an attorney who specializes in estate planning."
And  as mentioned before in previous talks provided by Blonski and others   it is very important to ...
And, as mentioned before in previous talks provided by Blonski and others, "it is very important to go over your list of beneficiaries," said estate planning attorney Jennifer Hainstock. She attended the second "summer school" talk Blonski's office coordinated. "When putting together your retirement goals, said Hainstock, as much as it may seem unpleasant or difficult to talk about, think about who you want to leave your money to. And, think about who you want to have Power of Attorney."
"There is no better time then like right now to begin," he said. For more information about financial planning and the services firms like Edward Jones provides visit the web site. Or, see Daren Blonski's page on Facebook.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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