No one knows better than those who have recently entered retirement the many moving parts and challenges that go into living a fulfilling retired life. If we have prepared the way and taken those steps to facilitate the lifestyle we hope to live, we can reasonably hope that our retirement will be that wonderful time when we are free to do what we want to whenever we want. It may not all be smooth sailing but if we can pursue those passions that inspire us, if we can enjoy those travels that enrich our existence, if we are fortunate enough to maintain our physical and mental health into our later years, this second act might just be fun. It’s all in the planning.
What can we do to help prepare the way to allow us to successfully navigate the retirement jungle that awaits? How can we get a jump on the game?
(1) Understand what retirement means to you and your partner
Before you get there, it is helpful to know how each of you perceive the retirement-to-be that you will share. Discuss your individual vision of your second act. Figure out those interests that you share as well as those you want to pursue individually. Along with doing things together, having your own interests can enrich the experience days. Try to figure out your “retirement personality”. Do you see yourself perpetually busy doing all you can with every available moment? Or are you happy to take things easier and smell the roses along the way? Do you see some form of work in your retired life? Just what will the post-work-you actually look like? Open discussion along these lines can help a couple to enter into and share retired life more fully.
(2) Be sure you can afford to retire
There are different schools of thought when it comes to how much you will need to retire. Some recommend that you save at least 80 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain the standard of living to which you are accustomed. Another rule of thumb is to build a nest egg large enough to allow you to withdraw a maximum of four percent each year to live the lifestyle you want. Whatever model you choose to follow, it really comes down to estimating as accurately as possible what will be your expenses based upon the lifestyle you hope to live and comparing those to your sources of income and savings. To keep it interesting, let’s throws in a few wild cards, the first being just how long you will live and the second what will happen with healthcare costs as the 75 million strong baby boomer generation ages. With average longevity increasing, you want to be realistic and somewhat conservative to avoid the possibility of outliving your savings.
(3) Be optimistic but be realistic
Despite our best efforts, even if we workout every day and eat healthy every meal, time will eventually begin to take a toll. We can expect to slow down, we may notice some difficulties with what were once basic tasks, our memory may trick us and our perfect eyesight abandon us, but it is all part of the journey. I think that if we can attempt to consider some of the less-than-wonderful possibilities before they occur, we may be better prepared or at least not blindsided by the unexpected. Try to think about it, to get a feel for it, and talk it over with your partner who will ideally be there with you for better or worse.
(4) Take care of your affairs
No one wants to leave their bills and debts to be paid by their family. Yet if you do not make preparations ahead of time that may be the case. Term life insurance – such as that offered by Select Quote.com – is an affordable way to cover your bases and make sure the already stressful time of your passing is not compounded. Prepare a will that specifically expresses how you may want your estate divided. Whatever you can do ahead of time will not only help assure your final wishes are fulfilled but also give your heirs one less detail to think about.
A little planning can go a long way to help you successfully navigate the retirement jungle. As the blog says, retirement is only the beginning.