People approach retirement age with excitement or fear, and sometimes a mix of both. The promise of free time, rest, travel, and lower stress levels is often coupled with anxiety over feeling lost without their job, getting bored, or living off Spam and ramen noodles while inflation skyrockets and nobody visits.
And why wouldn’t they feel anxious about retiring? Most people only retire once. Not us.
We’ve retired hundreds of times, in different life circumstances, in a range of ages, with
varying levels of assets, from a multitude of industries and careers, with a variety of bucket lists. With our clients, of course.
Retirement is our thing.
So whether you’re waiting impatiently for your last day of work to arrive or you’ve developed an ulcer from worrying that you’ll ever have enough money to be able to punch in a final time, here’s a simple guide to creating the retirement you deserve:
- Don’t wait. The best time to begin preparing for retirement is when you’re as green as grass. But if that ship sailed long ago, take heart, and do what you can, right now! ● Tally up your debt, savings, and pension. If possible, pay your debt down or off. ● Determine when you should begin pulling Social Security.
- Find out whether you’ll have any remaining employee benefits after you separate (e.g., health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance).
- Create an emergency fund with a minimum of 3 months of estimated living expenses.
- Identify all the income-generating assets you have at your disposal. ● Calculate your estimated monthly expenses/cost of living.
- Search for a financial advisor. We’re biased, but we consider this the most important to-do in this list. Advisors will explain, remind, sympathize, and strategize with you. Pick someone you feel confident working with for 30+ years. Their personality and financial philosophy should match yours, and you should feel safe, respected, and greatly helped by their services.
We’ve seen over and over again that 18 months pre-retirement is an ideal time to begin planning the specifics of your retirement scenario. An experienced advisor will remove a lot of the stress and questions during this ramp-up process.
And we won’t leave you hanging after your last day at work. The first 12 to 24 months post-retirement are like retirement kindergarten. Together, we’ll learn the ins and outs of your actual expenses, discuss changing needs and unexpected developments, and readjust to close any gaps.
What you want and need during retirement may change from year to year or even month to month. There’s always something to learn in retirement and our wealth advisors are teachers at heart. That’s why we’re always available to meet with you to discuss your portfolio or your financial plan.
The key takeaway from all this? No matter what you’ve done in the past 40+ years to prepare, the unknown of retirement doesn’t have to be a time you dread or face alone.
Retirement may be the end of your career, but it’s also the start of better adventures. We want to help you create the financial independence to navigate those adventures.