Don’t be a follower! Too many people fail to plan properly for retirement and when it arrives – BAM!! – they don’t know what to do. This is far more common than I would like to admit. Just recently, a couple came to our office to discuss their retirement plans. Before we discussed their resources available for retirement, I simply asked, “What are your plans to keep your mind sharp, your body fit and your marriage exciting during retirement?” You could have knocked them down with a feather.
People will spend more time planning a week’s vacation than they do
- Know your time. This is one asset that many people fail to recognize and, resultingly, squander aimlessly through life. Time is the only asset you can’t control. You should understand that medical advances have created a longer lifespan than we experienced in the 1970s. You may conceivably live as many years in retirement as you did in your career. Wow! That will shed some light on the importance of understanding and utilizing time as a leverage to plan for a confident retirement.
- Know your lifestyle. Recently, a gentleman sat down with me and informed me that he wished to retire at the age of 62 and did not want his lifestyle to change dramatically. On the surface this seems like a reasonable request of anyone wishing to retire. However, when we discussed his needs for retirement life and reviewed his resources, we discovered a significant deficit. He had not planned well and his assets to be used for funding his lifestyle after his career were inadequate to say the least. He wasn’t happy when we projected his income streams from his current assets.
- Create a vision for life after work. To make a life-changing decision such as retirement, one should spend considerable time prior to retirement creating a vivid, specific plan for what the next phase of life looks like to her. What hobbies do you wish to pursue? Do you wish to travel? Where do the grandchildren live? Are you planning on locating to a state without income tax? All of these factors play a role in your life and are vital to enjoying retirement.
- Eliminate all indebtedness. Prior to launching into retirement, we recommend our clients eliminate or significantly reduce all indebtedness. In particular, we believe it is far less worrisome to live in a home without mortgage payments. This may require the sale of the large, family home and relocate to a smaller home or condominium with less maintenance and lower utility bills.