Every working adult will eventually want to retire, but not everyone does the proper amount of planning for that event to actually happen. Without savings and a plan in place, this happy time might actually be more stressful than necessary. If you are a few years from retirement now, it’s time to really consider what the shift into this stage of life will mean for you.
It is completely normal to feel concerned or scared. After all, this is uncharted territory, and the unknowns are many. How will your finances change? What will the social, mental and physical differences be in your life from this point onward?
In order to prepare for these things, you need a comprehensive retirement transition plan. I will provide you with a guide to creating one that will save you money, time and worry so that your golden years will in fact be golden.
The best time to begin planning for your retirement is now. Whenever you read this, no matter your age, you should start a plan if you haven’t already done so. The good news is that you are already on the right track, since you’ve made it here.
The first thing you should consider is how you will save for retirement. Think for a moment about all the expenses that come with life--utility bills, medical care, insurance, housing, unplanned expenses and vacation time.
It adds up to quite a chunk of money every year! The earlier you begin to save, the more you will have to work with when the time comes.
Even if retirement seems far away right now, think about the power of compound interest. In short, your money will make money the longer it’s invested.
If you are close to retirement and feel a little concerned reading this, don’t be! You still have options, and you’re not alone in your situation. As your first step, talk to your employer about the retirement benefits they offer and ask what their policy is on matching your investments.
Take baby steps with your investments: save as much as you can and work on increasing the amount you save every year. If you are really concerned that you haven’t saved enough by the time you turn 65, remember that you have the option to retire a few years later.
It may not be ideal, but it can possibly give you more peace of mind. You also have the option to start phasing out of the workforce gradually by working part-time for a few years before quitting entirely.
Retirement will, understandably, be a huge change in lifestyle. You may be concerned that you will have to watch your expenses, and many people share those fears. In order to enjoy your retirement instead of constantly feeling concerned about your nest egg, work on going into it with the right mentality.
You don’t have to pinch every penny, but it will help if you spend a little less money each month than you did while you were working. You should make a monthly budget--more on that later.
You should also make sure your investments are invested properly. If you are truly concerned about your income during retirement, remember that you can always pick up a part-time job. Also, be sure to take advantage of discounts that are now available to you as a retired person...one of the benefits of being older.
A part-time job will also serve the purpose of getting you out of the house if you feel isolated or stuck at home. It’s nowhere near as strenuous as a full-time position, and you will find their scheduling to be much more flexible.
If you are a morning person, you will probably be able to make a schedule allowing you to wake up early and be home by the afternoon. You may also have the opportunity to work from home, since many businesses are moving online.
Even though you will no longer be working, the expenses will continue. After all, you still need to eat and keep the lights on!
You also deserve to kick back and relax with a vacation each year. Also, you should keep in mind that healthcare will probably be the biggest expense you aren’t expecting especially if you are retiring before you become eligible for Medicare.
You will become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65. Medicare won’t take care of every medical expense, and you have several kinds of plans to choose from, so consider them carefully. For example, if you want vision or dental insurance, you will need to buy them separately.
Sit down and make a budget. How much money do you already have saved for retirement? What can you expect to receive from your current employer? What is your pension plan, and do you have any from employers in the past? Keep in mind that if you retire before 65, which is generally considered the full retirement age, your benefits from social security will be reduced.
Next, take stock of the things that will continue to make or drain your money: assets and debts. If you have investments, think about how risky they are. If you are relatively young, moderate to high risk is fine, but as you get older, you should consider restructuring your investments to be a little more safe. If you have debts, make a plan now for paying them off before you retire.
Now that the big-picture planning has started, it’s time to consider your everyday life as a retiree. How much will you need to spend per month? What places in your budget now can be restructured when you are no longer working? For example, you may want to spend more on your hobbies or save funds for road trips.
Finally, it’s time to think about giving. If you want to donate to charities, plan how often you want to set aside those funds. Since you are already considering your finances, now is a good time to either make a will or restructure one that you already have. You should also check the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, just to be sure that everything is updated the way you want it.
Your finances aren’t the only consideration you should have. Remember that this will be a huge change in your life, and you need to prepare yourself for the emotional shift awaiting you. Acts Retirement-Life Communities notes that you will probably face five stages in your retirement process: planning, excitement, honeymoon, disenchantment and reorientation and stability.
You are in the planning stage now. While you are getting your finances in order, you should also think about what you want to get most from retired life. What are you expecting most from this stage of your life? What are your biggest worries, and what actions can you take to alleviate your fears? With a plan of action, your stress will be as low as possible.
As retirement gets closer, the excitement will really set in. You are not defined by your career, after all, and you will finally have time to do everything you have been putting off because of work and other duties. You can even start planning some celebratory vacations or think about picking up a new hobby.
The first year or so of your new lifestyle will be the honeymoon phase, just like entering a new relationship. The excitement will be fresh in this time, but it may eventually give way to disenchantment.
If you find that you start feeling trapped in the same routine or stuck in your home, you may be experiencing depression. Do not let these negative emotions overcome you--reach out to family, friends and professionals. Your loved ones and/or a trained therapist can help you rediscover what brings you peace.
Remember that depression is not a shameful thing to experience during this time. The American Psychological Association notes that you need to stimulate your brain in some way during retirement. While for some people, this does mean getting a part-time job, others will not feel fulfilled by going back to work.
This is up to your personal preference and requires you to think about what truly brings you joy. Do you feel recharged by helping others? Would you prefer being out in nature with less people? How would you like learning a craft or starting a small business?
If you don’t want to pick up a part-time position, you may still enjoy volunteering every so often. Giving back to the community will also inspire positive feelings, since you will be able to see that you are making a difference in some way.
Remember that there is nothing that you specifically have to do during this time. If you feel obligated to do something, you may not enjoy it as much as an action that you choose to take because you genuinely want to. Even spending time with grandchildren can feel stifling if your children treat caretaking like a duty you have as a retired grandparent.
Do not feel pressured to take on any activities, even if that weight comes from family and friends. The only person who should choose how you spend your retirement is you. In order to prepare your family and friends, you may want to share your goals with them. This way, they will know what to expect and what might be overstepping your boundaries.
Remember that whatever you choose to do with your retirement, you need to have a social life of some kind. If you notice yourself spending most of your time at home, reach out to a friend. Even a simple phone call can change your mood for the better.
Try to plan something once a week, or every other week if you prefer less interaction. If you have a spouse or romantic partner, make sure to set aside time for date nights and focused time together.
If you still find yourself feeling lonely and isolated, consider adopting a pet. A dog or cat can provide unconditional love while giving you a small amount of responsibility.
You may find it much easier to get up in the morning when your cat is meowing for breakfast! Plus, pets can even be a way to bond with other people, as you can make new friends while taking your dog to obedience classes or walking in the park.
However you choose to handle it, after the period of disillusionment has passed, you will reach the final stage of reorientation and stability. Think about the goals you had during your planning stage, as well as the worries and fears you expressed.
Now that you have had more than a year of retired life, re-evaluate those goals and concerns against your lived experience. You are well-equipped to enjoy the rest of your job-free life.
If you are ready to create your retirement transition plan, let us help you take those vital next steps. Having a financial advisor is a key part of the retirement process, since you may need some help to set up the next several decades of your life.
We are ready to work with you to ensure that you will know exactly what you’re retiring to. Contact us for your free retirement checkup today. With just a 15 minute phone call, we will get you on the road to a plan that addresses everything you need to live your best retirement life.
NextGen Wealth, LLC is a registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities product, service, or investment strategy. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor, tax professional, or attorney before implementing any strategy or recommendation discussed herein. NextGen Wealth LLC is registered as an investment adviser in the states of Missouri and Kansas, and is notice-filed in the State of Texas. As such, it may only transact business with residents of those states and residents of any other state where otherwise legally permitted subject to exemption or exclusion from registration requirements.
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