It’s never too early, or too late, to start planning your retirement. If you have not given it much thought, the best time to start is now. Many aspects of retirement are better left without nasty surprises; even if we feel we are not in the best place to try to sort things out, leaving them until closer to that retirement date can only make it more difficult. Here we have put together nine things we should all consider when thinking about planning our retirement. Follow the advice and thoughts here, and the whole process will suddenly become more evident.
No matter how much we feel we are ready or are desperate to finish up and leave the world of work behind, we must be prepared for the fact that after fifty years or more, it will be a shock to the system, and one that will take some getting used to. You will not only be saying goodbye to individuals you have recently worked with, but to a whole way of life and set routine. Getting up with no pre-arranged schedule can be much more daunting than we gave it credit for being. This is the reason that so much of what we are about to discuss is concerned with how we might fill our time. It’s ok for this process to take a while and if you struggle to find your feet, be aware you are not alone, which is a common issue.
When to Retire
It’s not too long ago that people would not have given this idea any thought as it was a fixed date when you retire. The notion of early retirement would have been an option only available to the richest in society. But with careful planning and fiscal responsibility, we can all really consider this as an option. The key is to invest or save at a reasonable level; put some of that extra income aside when you achieve a promotion or pay rise as your career progresses.
When we talk about putting money aside, we are talking about savings and investments. One of the safest forms of saving for retirement is placing money into a pension. This never gives a complete guarantee of a specific return but can usually be relied on to be somewhat solid. Like any other form of investment, there are higher risk options for higher rates of return, and only you can decide if this is worth it?
How much we can do in retirement depends on how well we have saved and invested. Travel is on most people’s itineraries when retiring. But travel can be an expensive hobby. We should consider what we can afford, and there’s plenty of ways to stretch our budget when traveling. Firstly, we could take fewer trips, but when we do travel, make it extra special. We must face one uncomfortable fact if we are to consider this; once we hit retirement age, we can never be sure how many years we have left? So, keeping too much time between trips risks losing out if we become ill or unable to travel in our later years. Alternatively, we can look to make cuts while traveling. Consider options such as budget airlines, self-catering, and traveling off-season.
Where to live is another question that suddenly becomes much more varied in options once you retire. In the past, we would have found ourselves restricted by proximity to work. But now the work has gone, so has the commute. If travel is your thing, we’ve seen many downsize their home and pick up a top-of-the-range RV to spend extended amounts of time on the road. We may have a favorite location we always wanted to live beside, but it was never practical.
Leisure & Hobbies
Leisure and hobbies are what make the day-to-day of retirement all worth it. Perhaps you have pre-existing hobbies with classics such as playing golf or gardening extremely popular. But what about the idea of taking up something new? If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that has extensive access to nature then, walking and hiking could be for you. Whatever you choose, you have the luxury of properly deciding if it’s for you?
As we get older, it’s inevitable that our healthcare needs are going to become more rather than less complicated. Declining health will mean we need to be sure we are adequately insured in case of issues. Granted, if we reach regular retirement age, we will be entitled to Medicaid, but if we take early retirement or desire greater cover, we need to make sure we can afford additional insurance paid for out of our own pocket.
Working in Retirement
Many would define retirement as getting away from work and consider the idea of work in retirement as possibly the craziest idea you could think of. But if you consider the reasons for working are vastly different to when you were building a career you may be able to see the benefits. Many always had a notion or idea for a business they could never pull the trigger on due to the risk, but with no pressing need to make a living, now may be the time. Other options may include volunteering or learning a new skill or trade.
Finally, if we are lucky enough to live nearby, we can spend much more time with our family. Think you kids and grandkids; you may well be roped into being the sole provider of free childcare. If that sounds like your idea of hell on earth, then give it a miss; however, we can’t think of anything better than being around little ones again for many of us.
Overall your retirement has to be exactly that, your own. Decide what makes you happy and do that.