What Does Retirement Look Like?

Those of us who eventually cross the retirement finish line look forward to happy times pursuing diverse interests we reluctantly set aside while life and responsibility demand their due. And though the hard part is getting there, plenty of challenges await once we don the badge of retirement and strive to adapt to an alien life where each day’s activities are up to our individual preference. This new freedom can be overwhelming especially after decades following the rules, adhering to overpopulated calendar dates. We can do whatever we want for as long as we want. So how exactly does that look?

When I first retired I was pretty excited. No more work stress, no more commuting headaches, no more answering to the whims of those higher in the pecking order. I was free to do my own thing, to let the good times roll. So why not? My wife and I traveled all over the place. I knocked out that massive list of to-do’s I had been compiling for years. I revisited neglected hobbies from piano to gardening to ping pong. I attacked a stack of books amassed for just this time. For a while I was a busy bee happily buzzing from one activity to the next.

Unfortunately, after a year living the retirement dream, something was missing. As a rather organized person (aka obsessive) I found myself reviewing my accomplishments at day’s end. If I did not complete at least a few worthwhile endeavors I felt I had wasted the day. When my wife asked, “what did you do today?” I found myself struggling to offer anything of substance. How exactly do you define “worthwhile”? And worthwhile from whose perspective?

Back on the job quantifying worthwhile was straight forward. Complete the project on time; achieve the quota for the month; sell more this quarter than you did last. The rules were clear and success easily measured.

But once retired, for better or worse, what is worthwhile is not always apparent. Goals are much softer, indeterminant. Success is not so easily measured. Then again, isn’t success in retirement doing what you want, enjoying life and feeling good? Maybe I was overthinking the whole thing. Just go with the flow and don’t worry about impressing anyone. Be happy with living the day and enjoying all it has to offer. Perhaps a bit difficult to quantify? But so what.

With the current COVID situation my wife and I are together pretty much 24/7. Any disagreeable habits will come to the forefront under the spotlight that is daily interaction. But for us the close proximity has not been a problem. We each have our hobbies – she puzzles, attends yoga classes online, quilts, and hikes with select friends; I work out, go for walks, read, garden, and fiddle with the piano. It doesn’t feel like we are stepping on each other’s toes. I hope she feels the same!

And the fact we cannot dine out is no biggie. My wife is an amazing cook and with time on her hands explores new recipes almost daily. We have been eating like royalty and I happily do the dishes.

We have also learned to appreciate each other and what we have. I believe our patience has improved as we navigate a stressful time together. We understand the importance of supporting one another in difficult times, acting as a unified front. But also feel free to explore individual interests. Retired life has taught us it is a lot easier to have fun together if you can also have fun on your own.

We are still figuring it all out. Retirement is in no way stagnant – it is an ever-evolving journey with surprises around every corner. Enjoy yourself!

Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Retirement Financial Advisor

Written by John Moran

Retirement is the most significant financial transition in life. It is vital that your retirement financial advisor understands your needs and is able to make this transition with you. The following ten questions can help you understand the capabilities of a financial advisor when you start getting ready for retirement.

Q: Is your retirement advisor a true fiduciary?

There is no point paying for advice when it is not really in your best interests. True Fiduciary is legally bound to offer advice in the best interests of the client. You don’t want someone that offers advice for their benefit.

Q: Why do they work as a retirement financial advisor?

You don’t want to be with a professional that puts your interests first just because they are legally bound. You want someone that is honored to offer independent and unbiased advice.

Q: What is their fee?

There is only one rule of thumb when you are considering the fee – their services should surpass what you are paying. You should be able to get more by reducing your taxes, planning your estate, and building an appropriate asset allocation for retirement.

Q: Are they experienced?

Never choose a financial advisor with less than a decade or 10,000 hours experience. This is the amount of time required to truly develop expertise in a particular field.

Q: Are there any legal or regulatory issues?

It makes sense to verify that your financial advisor does not have any license, legal or regulatory issue. You are getting ready for retirement and you need to make sure that everything checks out.

Q: Is there a third party custodian involved?

While you want the firm to manage your investments, you certainly don’t want to take the risk of letting them hold it as well. The best financial firms like Fidelity use a third-party custodian to hold investments.

Q: Are retirement portfolios treated the same way as others?

It only makes sense that someone who is 70 and living off their investments requires a different strategy than someone at the peak of their career.

Q: Will they help you create an income strategy? Income strategy is vital to a comfortable retirement plan. You need a sound income strategy if you want to live comfortably after retirement. You need a financial advisor that is well-versed in developing diverse retirement portfolios and can help you sustain with a lifetime income.

Q: Is comprehensive financial planning offered?

Comprehensive financial planning is important at every step of your career and retirement. A sound retirement planner will be able to see the entire financial picture and make recommendations and adjustments in areas like asset preservation, taxes, cash flow, insurance planning, and income strategy.

Q: What are the biggest risks in retirement?

Steer clear of financial advisors who claim there are no risks or that they eliminate all types of risks. This is an ignorant, deceptive, and arrogant response. It’s crucial that your financial advisor is true, honest, and straight to your face. If there are potential risks with an investment, those should be clearly listed out.

Smart Ideas to Practice Before Retiring

Written by Becky Wilcox

A happy and fulfilling retirement defines different things to different people. Some think that retiring means spending more time with your family, making several visits to the golf club, perhaps catching up on most of the things you have been missing out. Here are some of the steps that will help you prepare for retirement.

Evaluate Your Health

Schedule your check-ups and take preventive exams as soon as possible. To get the most out of stepping down from your job, you need to be healthy. A few visits and medical attention from a doctor will benefit you. Engage yourself in improving and maintaining your health condition before you retire to have an easy time after retirement. Push yourself to consume healthy foods, get more sleep, and stay intellectually sharp with mind games, such as puzzles and books.

Begin Saving Early

You need to create a budget that will benefit you after retiring. Begin by tracking your monthly income, perhaps earlier, and that will help you figure out how much money you need for your retirement. For example, people that purchase heavy duty barn door hardware understand the importance and work on saving money to buy this type of door or other purchases for the home. On the other hand, saving money for your kids or saving money in a retirement saving plan to help you start a business is advisable. Besides, by the time you are almost retiring, you will not panic about running out of time.

Connect Through Social Media Platforms

Improve your social life by building a more and maintained network platform even after retirement to showcase your talents. You are allowed to display your abilities before retiring, to attract the attention of those that can help you achieve your retirement dreams. Create a networking plan by spending a few hours on Facebook or Twitter, connect and converse with different people on LinkedIn, and share your skills to help grow your network.

Find Out More About Your Retirement Type

Some people find it hard to visualize that retirement is almost near. It is advisable for you to dig more into your retirement category. For example, the benefits that come after you officially retire. A little understanding will help you find out if your retirement type is an involved spectator, a comfortable glider, or a continuer. Additionally, before you fully retire, research on when to start collecting your social security benefit to enjoy financial freedom.

Reduce Your Expenses

After retirement, if you were covered by your company, it is a matter of time before they take you off the record. To include unnecessary expenses, it is essential you save up enough cash and set up a sinking fund. A sinking fund will help you set aside money for future expenses such as taxes, holiday gifts, car repairs, and other irregular costs that need cash rather than credit.

Depending on where you live and your current situation, it is essential to save money to help you after retiring.

Prepare for the Unforeseen

For those that have no plans after retirement, they step out expecting the worst. However, if you prepare for the unexpected, you will not get caught off guard. It would help if you took the time to plan and organize how you will pay for your expenses or how you will respond to small matters such as leaking taps. Share the significant problems with the people close to you like your family and friends. Check to see how much it will cost you to make substantial and small repairs. Plan for your retirement while expecting the worst.

Stick to Your Plan After Retiring

Sticking to your plan is the most challenging step in getting ready for retirement; however, it is gratifying to stick to your projects. It is okay for you to have the urge to change and trying out new courses, but it is essential to consider your future and follow the steps to the letter. With the help of fast-growing technology, several online communities hold a wealth of information, ideas, and different tips that are a source of comfort and strength. You can join and become a part of this community and share photos and create a blog that will help other people retire successfully.