Retirement should be the time you remove yourself from the stresses and strains of work life. It is your chance to explore new opportunities, travel and spend more time with your loved one, your family, and your grandchildren. You have earned this new beginning after thirty years or more paying taxes, contributing to society and working hard. A financially secure and emotionally stable retirement is part of the American dream. However, for many, this dream quickly turns into a nightmare through poor planning and preparation during the preceding years.
The earlier you begin planning for your retirement, the more successful this period of your life will be. Retirement is a hugely personal journey for those lucky enough to undertake it. Take a look at this ultimate guide to discover the most comprehensive way of securing a prosperous retirement.
Work Out What You Want To Do Next
Even if you are beginning to plan for your retirement in your thirties or forties, it’s a good idea to have a general inkling of what you want to do when you finally shut down your computer for the final time. After making your speech and witnessing a few too many people getting a bit tipsy at your leaving party, it will be time to leave your workplace permanently and leave this chapter of your life behind.
What will you do with all of this extra time on your hands? After the celebratory vacation, it’s time to get back to the real world. What do you want to achieve? What do want to experience? Make a list and explore ways of turning this wish list into a reality. You may want to work with younger people in a voluntary capacity, travel more if your finances allow it, write a book, or use this time in your life to take up the hobby that you always wanted to do, whether this is painting, salsa dancing or learning to fly an airplane. Don’t squander these unique opportunities and plan for this part of your future early.
Ensure You Can Afford The Retirement You Want
The ability to sustain financial security is key to ensuring the successful completion of your retirement jigsaw. Without preparation, the retirement you have been dreaming of can quickly crumble if you haven’t made a firm financial plan.
Ensure you do everything humanly possible to save for your retirement. This doesn’t mean forfeiting your current quality of life, but it does mean saving a regular amount every month towards your future. It goes without saying that the earlier you begin saving, the bigger the resulting retirement fund.
So how are you going to save? Will you keep contributing to a standard saving account? Will you set up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)? Are you going to contribute to your employer’s pension plan or 401(k) plan? The answer to all of these options should be an emphatic yes. The most prudent way to save is by sharing your eggs between a variety of baskets.
It is also important to go one step further and invest, ready for your retirement. Exploring safe investment options will minimize the risk to your money and, although the returns may not be the most lucrative, the growth will be guaranteed and realistic. Many of these investments are risk-free allowing you to plan for your retirement with certainty. High-risk investments with potentially significant returns are an option but, as the name suggests, they are not guaranteed, and you will be gambling with your financial future. These high stakes may make or break your future prosperity.
However you choose to save, ensure you keep up the momentum with regular monthly contributions to your retirement nest egg and whatever you do, leave it alone. Don’t withdraw any of your retirement savings. Allow your money to accrue and interest to develop. When you see the money stacking up year on year, the retirement dreams that you have will feel more and more within your reach.
Be Prepared For Major Change
It goes without saying that there’s a significant gear change when you retire. The 9 – 5 job is no more, working late and weekends is non-existent and you no longer have to be on a permanently heightened state of alert should your boss call you at home. Life suddenly slows down, and this can take some getting used to.
If your spouse or partner is retiring at a similar time to you, it’s a good idea to have a conversation about how you see your retirement developing. You will inevitably find yourself spending more time with your partner, but also wanting to pursue individual interests. You will need to re-budget your finances together, decide where you are going to live and think about healthcare needs as your retirement journey continues.
It’s vital that you try and compromise with your partner early on in the planning process. The path to retirement is not without its occasional misunderstandings, but by working as a team, you can face the uncertainties together.
Counteract The Inevitable Shrinking of Your Social Circle
Even if you aren’t the most social of butterflies, you will have made friendships at work and, at the very least, you will have acquaintances. Some of these friendships will endure into retirement but most won’t. This is inevitable and can come as a shock. The sound of lively banter and laughter in the workplace may be replaced by the mind-numbing hum of the television. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Just because you have retired doesn’t mean you can’t plan to venture down new social avenues. Go to the gym, join a club, meet new people and enjoy getting to know them. Being the new person can be very daunting and not something you’ll have experienced since starting your first day at work. But you got through that, and you’ll get through this.
Now is the time to stop talking about planning for your retirement and take the plunge and do it. Retirement is your well-earned reward. By being proactive now, you are ensuring your future financial stability giving you the freedom to achieve your goals in retirement.