Our featured article of the month, Retirement Seen Through Your Eyes, poses a few insightful questions on planning your future years. What will be your purpose? What accomplishes are you intent on fulfilling? What sparks your interest? Long gone are the days of depression era retiree ideas of lounging on the couch waiting for the end. No, second careers are hatched, new businesses started, long desired volunteer opportunities are fulfilled and sometimes retirement can be busier than your working years!
Years ago, I heard some sage insight from some very good physician clients, that the retiree patients they see regularly are those without anything to do. They slow down and their bodies begin slowing down too. So, instead of sitting idle, move it, and plan ahead for that next act that will achieve the goals you may have delayed or just never got around to.
Incorporating them into your future plans will inspire you to structure a means for achieving them. While some may think a number defines their retirement, a number is just that a numeral. What you put into planning involves much more and requires forethought on questions like those proposed above.
I discuss retirement planning a lot and each situation varies. Some wish to remain close to their children, others are intent on living in an ideal location with visitors coming to them. Others begin businesses, while others work so many volunteer hours, they think they are employed full time! The important point is that your plan is your own to design and outline the way you envision it.
After you leave work, what will your life look like?
How do you picture your future? If you are like many contemplating retirement, your view is likely pragmatic compared to that of your parents. That doesn’t mean you must have a “plain vanilla” tomorrow. Even if your retirement savings are not as great as you would prefer, you still have great potential to design the life you want.
With that in mind, here are some things to think about.
What do you absolutely need to accomplish? If you could only get four or five things done in retirement, what would they be? Answering this question might lead you to compile a “short list” of life goals, and while they may have nothing to do with money, the financial decisions you make may be integral to achieving them.
What would revitalize you? Some people retire with no particular goals at all, and others retire burnt out. After weeks or months of respite, ambition inevitably returns. They start to think about what pursuits or adventures they could embark on to make these years special. Others have known for decades what dreams they will follow … and yet, when the time to follow them arrives, those dreams may unfold differently than anticipated and may even be supplanted by new ones.
In retirement, time is really your most valuable asset. With more free time and opportunity for reflection, you might find your old dreams giving way to new ones. You may find yourself called to volunteer as never before or motivated to work again in a new context.
Who should you share your time with? Here is another profound choice you get to make in retirement. The quick answer to this question for many retirees would be “family.” Today, we have nuclear families, blended families, extended families; some people think of their friends or their employees as family. You may define it as you wish and allocate more or less of your time to your family as you wish (some people do want less family time when they retire).
Regardless of how you define “family” or whether or not you want more “family time” in retirement, you probably don’t want to spend your time around “dream stealers.” They do exist. If you have a grand dream in mind for retirement, you may meet people who try to thwart it and urge you not to pursue it. (Hopefully, they are not in close proximity to you.) Reducing their psychological impact on your retirement may increase your happiness.
How much will you spend? We can’t control all retirement expenses, but we can control some of them. The thought of downsizing may have crossed your mind. While only about 10% of people older than 60 sell homes and move following retirement, it can potentially lead to more manageable mortgage payments. You could also lose one or more cars (and the insurance that goes with them) and live in a neighborhood with extensive, efficient public transit. Ditching landlines and premium cable TV (or maybe all cable TV) can bring more savings. Garage sales and donations can have financial benefits as well as helping you get rid of clutter, with either cash or a federal tax deduction.1
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice, so make sure to consult your tax, legal, and accounting professionals before modifying your overall tax strategy.
Could you leave a legacy? Many of us would like to give our kids or grandkids a good start in life, but given some of the economic realities of today, leaving an inheritance can be trickier than many realize.
Consider a couple with, for example, $285,000 in retirement savings. If that couple follows the 4% rule, the old maxim that you should withdraw about 4% of your retirement savings per year, subsequently adjusted for inflation – then you are talking about $11,400 withdrawn to start. When you combine that $11,400 with Social Security and other potential investment income, that couple isn’t exactly rich. Sustaining and enhancing income becomes the priority, and legacy preparations may have to take a backseat. On the other hand, a recent survey showed that 92% of all respondents believe it is important to leave money and other assets to their children.2
How are you preparing for retirement? This is the most important question of all. If you feel you need to prepare more for the future or reexamine your existing strategy in light of recent changes in your life, conferring with a financial professional experienced in retirement approaches may be a smart move.
This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.
1. IRS.gov, March 14, 2019
2. Bankofamerica.com, Spring 2019