Since starting Retirement-Only the Beginning I have focused on the non-financial side of planning for retirement. I discovered early on there was an awful lot of attention and effort focused on getting the money side of the equation right while relatively little was dedicated to answering the all-important question “what will I do in retirement?” It is all well and good to find yourself able to afford to retire but what will you do once you get there? My blog has tried to do the best to share ideas and real life suggestions that may shed light on ways to better prepare the way to make the most of your new found freedom.
That said the financial side of preparing for retirement cannot be ignored. Before we can make the move we have to know we will be able to support the lifestyle we hope to live. Even after we retire we still need to stay on top of our game. We should not just invest and forget or we may find ourselves in a less than ideal situation down the road. As I live my second act rarely a day goes by that I do not read of some new challenge retirees are facing.
Health care costs scare the heck out of me. For the first time since we have been members of the working world my wife and I have to pay for our own health insurance. A bit ago I started researching Obamacare to get an idea of what to expect. But it was early in the game and there were still a lot of moving parts. What I did learn was that it would not be cheap to provide the level of coverage we would need as we aged. For the next three years we have the option to buy COBRA which gives us the same coverage we have always had (medical, dental, vision). It is not cheap but it is a necessity. What scares me is what our options will be when we can no longer extend COBRA. And what will is cost.
Investing in the right areas is and will remain ever challenging. Is it best to focus on growth or value, bonds or stocks, mutual funds or ETFs, and what about the latest investment vehicles to hit the streets? How are we supposed to keep it all straight? For we retirees one of the scariest thing is if we make a mistake we do not have the luxury of time to put things right. I try to educate myself as best I can. I picked up an online course on fundamentals of investing to better understand the terminology and concepts behind the financial markets. I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal (something I never did while I was working) to get a better business slant on world events. I have been listening in on various webinars offered by investment companies to better educate myself. These webinars have been quite helpful covering a variety of topics addressed by experts in the subject matter. I am signed up for what should be an interesting session hosted by Liberty Bank titled 6 Retirement Planning Mistakes to Avoid as I continue my ongoing education.
Are there other retirement traps I should look out for?
I read about the importance of long term care insurance to provide for us should we at some point become unable to care for ourselves. But the costs are significant and I worry about the viability of a company 20 years from now when I might need the money. Is it worth it? Do I need it?
Social security will be a significant part of our retirement as long as it is still there. Even if the program remains in place when is the best time for me to start collecting benefits? Too early and I risk what could be bigger checks if I live longer than the average.
The list goes on and no one seems to have all the answers. So we continue onward doing our best to make informed decisions and exposing ourselves to the least possible risk we can to achieve the returns we desire. It is a perpetual balancing act. Fortunately there are a lot of smart people to help us out. And thankfully I have come to realize I am never too old to learn something new.
If you have any favorite websites or links to information that may help the rest of us navigate the retirement jungle, feel free to share. :)