Key takeaways

  • Maintaining your life after retirement begins with building a vision of what your ideal retirement looks like.

  • Outlining where your money will be coming from and going to will help you see how much you can spend on your goals.

  • Be sure to factor in taxes and potential risks to your income to make sure you’re covered for any surprises.

Planning for retirement can be a daunting task for anyone, regardless of your income level.

You may be intimidated by how you’ll maintain your current lifestyle when you’re no longer working – or have concerns about leaving the right legacy for your beneficiaries or cherished charitable organizations. Yet amid these concerns, many people tend to delay retirement planning as they build or grow their business and prioritize other objectives.

“When we have these initial goal-setting conversations with clients, we often find that their main concerns extend beyond just themselves into their family and the type of legacy they want to leave behind.”

Kate Phelan, U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management

“A lot of the individuals we work with spend their life focused on their craft,” says Kate Phelan, senior vice president and regional director for U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. “They’ve been so dedicated to their profession that they often haven’t spent time thinking of what’s next.”

But to meet your long-term goals and leave the kind of legacy you want, it’s important to start planning for retirement well before it arrives. Here are seven strategies to help you work toward maintaining your life after retirement.


1. Build a vision for your retirement lifestyle

Start by envisioning what you want this next phase of your life to encompass – and don’t be afraid to get detailed about your goals and desires. For example, if you currently take a few big trips per year, will you want to maintain or increase that level of travel? Maybe you want to be able to help your children or grandchildren pay for college or leave behind a charitable legacy.

“When we have these initial goal-setting conversations with clients, we often find that their main concerns extend beyond just themselves into their family and the type of legacy they want to leave behind,” Phelan says. “They want to find ways to maintain their lifestyle and the lifestyle of their family without hindering any charitable organizations they also want to support.”

This is where speaking with a financial professional pays off. They can help you brainstorm what your ideal retirement looks like – and help you balance living your ideal lifestyle while still supporting the people and causes you care about.


2. Know where your money is coming from

Phelan notes that to work toward maintaining the lifestyle you want in retirement, it pays to take a solid financial inventory. Your primary income may go away upon retirement, but do you have a comprehensive understanding of the income sources you’ll start to pull from once you’re no longer working? List every source of income you’ll have, such as:

  • IRAs, 401(k)s and other investment accounts 
  • Regular bank/savings accounts 
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs) 
  • Social Security benefits 
  • Life insurance 
  • Annuities
  • Business interests, especially if you’ll be selling

Also consider any specific rules or timelines around when you can begin withdrawing from each specific source.


3. Know where your money is going

Equally important as listing your income sources is listing your debts and projected expenses during retirement. While unexpected events do come up, list every expense you can plan for, including monthly household expenses and debt payments like a mortgage.

“As simple as it sounds, a budgeting spreadsheet allows you to clearly lay out the expenses you’ll be carrying into retirement and what you currently spend your money on,” says Phelan. “Listing those known, fixed expenses allows you to see how much you can spend on your big-picture goals and desires.”


4. Understand potential tax implications

Phelan acknowledges that while accumulation planning is important – asking yourself how much you need to save for retirement – distribution planning is an equally important factor that not everyone considers.

“Distribution planning takes into account the impact of taxes on different sources of income, which will determine how much of your assets will be preserved or depleted in retirement,” she notes. “Ask yourself: is this asset taxed as ordinary income, as long-term capital gain or is it tax-free? Your accumulation plan should include tax-diversified sources of retirement income. Remember that it’s not just what you earn; it’s what you get to keep after taxes.”

Phelan stresses that if you can factor in tax implications for withdrawals during your planning, you’ll enjoy a more secure retirement.


5. Factor in unplanned events and risks

Although it’s not that pleasant, it’s also important to think of potential risks that could drain your retirement income, such as market volatility or the cost of long-term medical care.

For example, it’s ironic that the time when you’ll stop earning money in the traditional sense is also the time in your life when you have a higher chance of facing costly medical expenses. Statistically, close to 70% of people who turned 65 today will need long-term care at some point in their life — making it something you need to plan for.1

Though you may consider self-insuring, it’s important to realize that long-term costs are significant. The median yearly cost for assisted living, for example, is roughly $54,000 a year.2 Nursing home care can range from almost $95,000 to over $108,000 a year.2 Offloading that liability to a third party is where traditional long-term care insurance (LTCI) comes in. LTCI can help you mitigate the risk of draining your retirement savings due to a chronic illness or medical problem.


6. Plan your retirement income withdrawal in phases

Just like you can’t predict what medical expenses may arise, you also can’t predict what will happen with the markets during your retirement. “Let’s say you retire at age 65,” says Phelan. “You will likely have at least 18 years of life expectancy. Most people don’t plan for that long period of life post-retirement. Inflation, increased healthcare expenses and market volatility during this long stretch could impact your available reserves.”

Because of this, Phelan recommends viewing retirement — and specifically your investments — in phases. This can help you manage your portfolio and lifestyle expenses more strategically. “Think of phase one of retirement as taking you from 65-75,” she says. “You’ll have sources of income begin to come in, such as pension income, Social Security and required minimum distributions from workplace retirement plans and IRAs. Once you start hitting your mid-70s, that’s your phase two, when you start to access your longer-term investments, as well.”

Revisit your investment regularly to make sure you’re planning for the short- and long-term phases of your retirement.


7. Review plans yearly

Lastly, retirement planning in general is far from a set-it-and-forget-it task; a yearly check-in is recommended to make sure your plan is on track.

“You might create a plan at the onset of retirement and then realize over the coming years that your desires have changed,” says Phelan. “We’re able to check in with the goals you established and make sure that nothing has changed. And if it has, it’s our job to help you adapt to those changes and revise the plan, providing you with a better idea of what the road forward is.”

Learn how we can help you work toward your retirement goals. 

Related articles

Retirement planning checklist

Review 18 important to-dos as you make your way toward retirement.

Managing retirement cash flow during market downturns

Investment markets can be unpredictable, but a downturn doesn’t have to be a threat to your retirement.


Start of disclosure content
  1. How Much Care Will You Need?,”

Start of disclosure content

Investment and insurance products and services including annuities are:
Not a deposit ● Not FDIC insured ● May lose value ● Not bank guaranteed ● Not insured by any federal government agency.

U.S. Wealth Management – U.S. Bank | U.S. Bancorp Investments is the marketing logo for U.S. Bank and its affiliate U.S. Bancorp Investments.

Start of disclosure content

U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Investments and their representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Each individual's tax and financial situation is unique. You should consult your tax and/or legal advisor for advice and information concerning your particular situation.

This information represents the opinion of U.S. Bank and U.S. Bancorp Investments and is designed to be educational and informative. The views are subject to change at any time based on market or other conditions and are current as of the date indicated on the materials. This is not intended to be a forecast of future events or guarantee of future results. It is not intended to provide recommendations and/or specific advice concerning retirement accounts or investment planning. It is not intended to be construed as an offering of securities or recommendation to invest. Not for use as a primary basis of investment decisions. Not to be construed to meet the needs of any particular investor. Not a representation or solicitation or an offer to sell/buy any security. Investors should consult with their investment professional for advice concerning their particular situation.

Start of disclosure content

For U.S. Bank:

Equal Housing Lender. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC. Mortgage, Home Equity and Credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice.

U.S. Bank is not responsible for and does not guarantee the products, services or performance of U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.

U.S. Bank does not offer insurance products. Insurance products are available through our affiliate U.S. Bancorp Investments.

Start of disclosure content

For U.S. Bancorp Investments:

Investment and insurance products and services including annuities are available through U.S. Bancorp Investments, the marketing name for U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC, an investment adviser and a brokerage subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp and affiliate of U.S. Bank.

U.S. Bancorp Investments is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as both a broker-dealer and an investment adviser. To understand how brokerage and investment advisory services and fees differ, the Client Relationship Summary and Regulation Best Interest Disclosure are available for you to review.

Insurance products are available through various affiliated non-bank insurance agencies, which are U.S. Bancorp subsidiaries. Products may not be available in all states. CA Insurance License #0E24641.

Pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, U.S. Bancorp Investments must provide clients with certain financial information. The U.S. Bancorp Investments Statement of Financial Condition is available for you to review, print and download.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 2267 provides for BrokerCheck to allow investors to learn about the professional background, business practices, and conduct of FINRA member firms or their brokers. To request such information, contact FINRA toll-free at 1-800‐289‐9999 or via An investor brochure describing BrokerCheck is also available through FINRA.

U.S. Bancorp Investments Order Processing Information.

Municipal Securities Education and Protection– U.S. Bancorp Investments is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). An investor brochure that describes the protections that may be provided to you by the MSRB rules and how to file a complaint with an appropriate regulatory authority is available to you on the MSRB website at