Retire at Any Age: Advice From a Financial Advisor in Buffalo Grove

By Gabriel Lewit

Retirement is more than just stopping work; it’s a complex transition that requires a well-thought-out, strategic plan. As a Financial Advisor in Buffalo Grove, IL, I’ve guided numerous clients through their retirement planning journey, helping them create the optimal conditions for retirement. This process includes creating robust retirement plans with savings management and smart tax planning strategies. 

In this guide, we will explore the following components of your retirement strategy:

  1. When Do You Plan On Retiring? 
  2. Planning For Your Healthcare Needs & Insurance
  3. Identifying Your Retirement Income Streams Versus Your Living Expenses
  4. Determining Where To Retire: Location, Location, Location
  5. Employing Smart Tax Strategies
  6. Planning Your Estate And Legacy 


It’s never too early to start planning for your 2023 taxes.  Read our latest Quick Guide on 2023 Tax Planning Strategies in Buffalo Grove, IL.

Chapter 1

When Do You Plan on Retiring?

retirement planning illustration

Timing, as they say, is everything.  When planning your retirement date, the timing certainly matters. Whether you can retire early (before the traditional retirement age of 65-ish) or plan on retiring later in life will depend on your ability to fund your retirement from retirement accounts and personal savings.

Early retirement can appeal to individuals who value their freedom and have adequate funds for a comfortable lifestyle. However, it also means fewer years to accumulate wealth and more years to support yourself, increasing the risk of outliving your savings late in life – a situation often referred to as the ‘retirement risk zone.’ A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in Buffalo Grove can help assess if your savings will last through an extended (30+ years) retirement period.
A traditional retirement date, typically around 65-67 years, provides more time to build your retirement savings, but you may need to make prudent choices to ensure your assets last as long as you need them.
Opting for a later retirement can produce a bigger nest egg, thanks to more years of savings and compounding your rates of return. But, this option can be more challenging if you start saving for retirement later in life. 
SGL Tip: It’s never too early or late to save for retirement. Ideally, you should have enough saved to cover 70-80% of your current income requirements for each year of retirement. At SGL Financial, our wealth-building approach diverges somewhat from traditional financial advisory firms. We hold the conviction that true success stems from your blend of what we call the Four Dimensions of Real Wealth:

  • Money & Finances
  • Health & Well-being
  • Family & Friends
  • Meaning & Purpose
Chapter 2

Healthcare Needs and Insurance

health plan for retirement. explanation of benefitsIncorporating healthcare needs and insurance coverages into retirement planning is of utmost importance, given that healthcare costs are often one of the most significant expenses for older retirees. It is important to recognize that as we age, the likelihood of needing increased healthcare services will go up – sometimes dramatically.

While Medicare provides some coverage, it doesn’t cover everything. As we age, the probability of chronic diseases increases with acute illnesses and unexpected health events, which can lead to higher medical costs. Dental care, vision care, long-term care, and other health services should often be considered, which may necessitate supplemental coverage or out-of-pocket spending.

Each year, the cost of healthcare continues to rise. Even routine check-ups, preventive care, and prescription medications can add up over time. Without proper planning, these expenses can erode your retirement savings quickly, leading to financial stress during a phase of life that should be comfortable and stress-free.

This is where proper health insurance plays a vital role in your retirement planning process. A well-chosen insurance plan can help cover many of these costs, creating a safety net against unexpected health expenses and ensuring access to necessary care. Beyond traditional health insurance, long-term care insurance can provide coverage for services like home health care, assisted living, or skilled nursing home care, which becomes more necessary as we age.

SGL Tip: Integrating healthcare needs and insurance coverage into your retirement planning is fundamental to pursuing a secure and comfortable retirement. It can help protect you from the financial burden of escalating healthcare costs and ensures you have access to higher quality care when you need it. 

Chapter 3

Identify Your Retirement Income Streams Versus Your Living Expenses

budgeting in retirement

Retirement is a significant phase of life that requires meticulous planning and adequate financial resources to ensure that you can maintain a similar standard of living to the one you grew accustomed to during your working years. One of the pivotal elements of this planning process is identifying your retirement income streams and creating a realistic estimate of your living expenses. Retirement income streams can come from Social Security, defined benefit pension plans, annuities, 401(k)s, IRAs, part-time work, or alternative investments such as income-producing real estate. Each source of income provides some financial security, but it’s important to understand their contribution and timing to the total income pool. Being clear about these income streams enables you to assess whether your retirement savings are sufficient or if shortfalls need to be addressed.

On the other hand, living expenses in retirement can be significantly different than your cost of living during working years. Some costs, such as commuting or professional attire, may decrease, while others, like healthcare and leisure, may increase. Developing a comprehensive estimate of these expenses ensures you can comfortably cover all your needs without prematurely draining your retirement savings accounts.

SGL Tip: Identifying your retirement income streams versus your living expenses forms the basis for a sound retirement plan. It facilitates informed decision-making, helps you align your lifestyle with your resources, and provides a roadmap to make necessary adjustments to ensure financial security later in life.

Chapter 4

Where to Retire: Location, Location, Location

where to retire. Retirement friendly states Identifying where to retire is another important decision that can significantly influence the quality of your post-retirement life. Many factors can play into your decision, such as cost of living expenses, access to medical care, and proximity to family and friends.

Financial considerations can play a significant role in your location. Retirees should ensure they choose a location where their retirement funds or savings can sustain their desired lifestyles. The cost of living can vary dramatically across different regions, encompassing housing costs, groceries, utilities, and taxes. Understanding these expenses helps in financial planning and ensuring a comfortable lifestyle during your post-retirement years.

Secondly, access to quality medical care is another critical location consideration. As we age, the likelihood of requiring regular medical attention increases. Therefore, the availability of good healthcare facilities is crucial. The proximity to hospitals, specialists, and other healthcare providers can significantly affect retirees’ health outcomes and quality of life.

Finally, the closeness to family and friends cannot be understated. It is common for retirees to put a premium on the time they can spend with their children, grandchildren, and friends. For some, living near family is a source of emotional support and can provide practical assistance in times of need. In addition, retirees often form part of their family’s support system, providing invaluable help with childcare and other family responsibilities.

SGL Tip: Identifying where to retire is a multifaceted decision that requires balancing financial concerns with considerations for healthcare access and familial relationships. By building thoughtful, informed choices into your retirement plan, you can have more confidence that your golden years will be filled with joy, comfort, and dignity. 

Chapter 5

Employ Smart Tax Strategies

retirement planning on laptop Incorporating smart tax strategies into your retirement plans is essential to pursuing a comfortable and financially secure future. Understanding and implementing these strategies can significantly reduce your tax liability while protecting your principal. 

  1. Asset Location: Different investments have different tax implications. Regular income tax applies to retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs, while long-term capital gains tax applies to investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds) in taxable brokerage accounts. Consider working with your Buffalo Grove financial advisor to allocate assets to minimize future tax liabilities.
  2. Roth Conversions: Distributions from traditional IRAs and 401(k)s are taxed upon withdrawal, whereas Roth account distributions are tax-free. Retirees can take advantage of lower tax brackets by gradually converting portions of traditional accounts into Roth accounts. This can provide significant tax savings over time.
  3. Strategic Withdrawals: The sequence of withdrawals from various retirement accounts can impact the amount of tax owed. Generally, it’s beneficial to withdraw from taxable accounts first, then tax-deferred accounts, and finally tax-free accounts. A CFP® in Buffalo Grove can assist with developing the ideal withdrawal strategy for you.
  4. Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs): Retirees over 70.5 can transfer up to $100,000 annually from their IRA to a qualified charity. This money counts towards their Required Minimum Distribution but isn’t included in your taxable income.
  5. Tax-efficient Fund Distributions: Diversification should be based on risk tolerance, investment horizon, and tax efficiency. Investing in tax-efficient funds like index funds and ETFs in taxable accounts can save considerable taxes.

SGL Tip: Remember, every individual’s financial situation is unique. Therefore, consulting with a financial advisor or tax professional is crucial to tailor these strategies to your long-term needs. When employed correctly, these strategies can lead to sizable savings, providing more freedom and flexibility in your latter retirement years.

Chapter 6

Estate and Legacy Planning

estate and legacy planning. time with grandchildren

Estate and legacy planning should be fundamental to your retirement planning efforts. It’s not simply about distributing assets post-mortem; it’s about preserving your wealth and ensuring a smooth, orderly, and tax-efficient transition of assets to the next generation or your designated beneficiaries.

Effective estate planning ensures that one’s assets and property are managed according to their wishes after one can no longer make decisions or has passed away. This creates peace of mind, knowing that the fruits of your lifetime of work will be distributed and utilized as intended.

Secondly, families can be left with complex legal issues without proper estate planning, potentially leading to intra-familial disputes. A well-drafted will or trust is indispensable to maintain harmony among heirs and prevent disputes that end up with attorneys.

Thirdly, estate and legacy planning is an effective way to minimize estate taxes. One can lower the tax liability through gifts, trusts, or charitable donations, thus ensuring maximum asset allocation to designated beneficiaries.

Legacy planning allows you to imprint your values onto your wealth. Whether funding a grandchild’s education, supporting a cherished cause, or continuing a family business, legacy planning transforms wealth into a purposeful gift that can continue to impact future generations.

SGL Tip: Retirement planning can be complex and nuanced. As a financial advisor in Buffalo Grove, IL, I’ve seen firsthand how important it is to consider multiple factors when planning for retirement, whether you choose to retire early, on time, or late.

The benefits of hiring a financial advisor extend far beyond investment advice. While every person’s retirement journey is unique, having a comprehensive plan and experienced guidance can help you pursue the retirement lifestyle you’ve always envisioned. Connect with the SGL Financial team to learn about our comprehensive retirement planning services. 


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