Atlanta financial advisor: Planning is key to retiring well

Even as we celebrate notable victories in marriage equality, the LGBT community often still find themselves faced with a number of variables when planning for their financial future. In the case of retirement, however, setting aside a little time each week and following the tips below can help individuals, regardless of their marital or family situation, begin preparing for their ideal retirement.

Determine your goals. When it comes to planning for your retirement, start early. But exactly how much is enough? This depends on your retirement goals. Do you plan on investing in a second home? Or traveling around the world? By determining how you want to live out your retirement, you’ll have a better sense of how much you need to save.

Establishing a plan. If you are recently married, discuss with your spouse how you will achieve those goals. Is one person going to save more or will it be an equal effort? One effective tactic is to save by default with automatic transfers to a retirement account so that there’s no chance you’ll forget to make a contribution. You’ll also want to make sure you update your beneficiaries so that you are prepared for the unexpected.

Consider health care and long-term care costs. Health care premiums and long-term care costs are often forgotten retirement components. A particular worry for same-sex couples without children is whether they can live at an elder care facility together. Long-term care insurance can help ensure you will be care for and have a choice in where you go.[1] Though it can be difficult to predict the future, reviewing your family’s medical history and your own personal health can help assess how much care you may need.

Monitor shifting landscapes. Recently, the new administration has expressed their intentions for a complete tax reform overhaul, which can potentially affect your retirement accounts.[2] While your account should be able to withstand any major shifts since it is diversified and for use later in life, still keep an eye on any developments and rebalance as needed. Additionally, if you got married before the IRS announced in 2013 that it would start recognizing all same-sex marriages for federal tax purposes, consult a tax professional and review your past returns to see if you qualify for any additional refunds.[3]

The realities of retirement today make planning for your future more important than ever regardless of your sexual preference.

Paul W. Horning II is a financial advisor at The Horning-Link Group at Morgan Stanley. He can be reached at