Stop for a moment and imagine the lifestyle you intend to live when you reach retirement. What do you see? Maybe you’re traveling more; or perhaps you’re volunteering with an organization whose work you’re passionate about. Now ask yourself, “What steps am I actively taking to help turn my vision into reality?”

When it comes to securing the retirement lifestyle you want to live, you can think of the planning process like a puzzle, where the overall picture is your personal vision for retirement, and the individual puzzle pieces are the assets you’ve worked so hard to accumulate. The more complex your vision, the more puzzle pieces you’ll need to account for.

However unique your vision for retirement might be, PNC Investments is here to help you get started with planning for it. The first step in the process is to address the following five critical questions:

1. When would you like to retire?

As is most often the case, timing is everything. The timing of when you choose to begin your retirement will directly impact how you fund the endeavor. As an example, the earliest you can begin claiming Social Security is at age 62. However, the longer you delay claiming your benefits, the larger they’ll be when you finally draw upon them.

Another point of consideration, not everyone has the luxury of choosing the time and circumstances of their retirement. Injury, illness, even the state of the economy can all play a hand in when you exit the workforce. In other words, it pays to be prepared when it comes to your retirement.

2. What do you want to do in retirement, and how much will that cost?

If you were to stop working tomorrow, how would you spend your time? Are you more likely to stay at home with a hobby, or would you be traveling to new and exotic locales? Equally important, could you afford to live that lifestyle indefinitely without the income provided from actively working?

The goal of this question is to create an accurate estimate of your expenses. Your budget needs to account for essential costs like housing, meals, healthcare, transportation, etc., as well as discretionary expenses like travel, entertainment, dining and leisure.

3. How long will retirement last?

Life expectancies have been on the rise; the Social Security Administration estimates on average, a male age 65 today can expect to live to about age 84. For a female, that average is slightly higher, with a life expectancy of nearly 87 years.[1]

And that’s only the average; simple statistics tell us many retirees will live a great deal longer. Case in point, one out of every four 65 year olds today will live past age 90, and one in ten will live past age 95.[1] Another point of consideration, the longer your retirement lasts, the more inflation will increase certain costs like healthcare and everyday expenses.

4. Where will the money to fund your retirement come from?

This question is designed to help you begin planning for a comprehensive distribution strategy – or a plan designed to convert specific assets into streams of income in retirement.

A PNC Investments Financial Advisor can help review how you are currently positioned – considering income from Social Security, pensions, dividends, and distributions from your investment and retirement plans. They can help you determine the most appropriate way to coordinate your benefits and assets to generate the income you need in retirement.

5. How will you cover any gaps?

If addressing these questions reveals that your needs are greater than your resources, don’t panic. In fact, it’s better to discover a gap sooner rather than later, as it allows you time to adjust your approach to address it. A PNC Investments Financial Advisor can help you develop a personalized plan to get back on track.

Common actions you can take to address a retirement income gap include:

  • Postponing retirement to reduce debt or accumulate additional assets
  • Adjusting your retirement plans to reduce expenses
  • Working part-time as opposed to exiting the workforce entirely
  • Utilizing structured investment products like annuities to create regular income distributions

Above all else, remember, PNC Investments is here to help. Talk to a PNCI Financial Advisor today to help determine whether you’re on track to fund the retirement lifestyle you envision. Call us at 855-PNC-INVEST.