You’re at “that age.” Not quite ready to retire, but eager to investigate the possibilities. You’re smart to start now. Financial experts agree the time to begin planning for retirement is sooner rather than later. The more time you have to strategize, and let those investments build your nest egg, the better.
Of course, financial preparation is just part of the homework. When you step back and really examine how to plan for retirement, you actually need to look at three things. First and foremost is how to prepare for retirement financially. But you also need to explore the emotional significance of not working, and the logistical considerations of stepping away from a career or job that’s defined you for so many years.
This article examines all three aspects of retirement planning: financial prep, emotional prep and logistical prep. Hopefully, you’ll find a few helpful tips that will make planning for retirement a positive experience — one that puts you on a path to one of the best chapters in your life!
Financial Prep: How Ready Is Your Nest Egg?
Work with a Financial Advisor. The question of how to plan for retirement should always begin with a hard look at your personal bottom line. It’s always a good idea to work with a financial advisor experienced in retirement planning and retirement tax laws. If possible, begin the work as far ahead of your tentative retirement date as possible.
Remember, the longer your investments have to do their job, the more funds you’ll have to create the retirement life you envision — and also the security you’ll want and need as you age. The relationship with a financial advisor must be ongoing. You’ll want to review your progress annually, perhaps more often the closer you get to retirement. You may need to revise your strategy as economic conditions and your personal circumstances change over the years.
Prepare a Sample Retirement Budget. We’re all experienced at setting up monthly budgets to help us save and make the most of our paychecks. Now is the time to consider what you might need to live on and where the funds will come from once the paychecks stop. Much of this work can (and should) be done with a financial advisor, but you can begin the process at your kitchen table as well by creating lists and questions with the help of some online research.
As you develop your vision of where you want to retire, the type of housing, etc. gather some information about the cost of living. Be sure to also set up an online account with the Social Security Administration so you can track your estimated monthly Social Security income. Deciding when to take Social Security can make or break some people’s retirement strategies — a financial advisor can help with this decision. Look to your advisor for direction on potential tax obligations in retirement and for advice on how to plan for inflation.
It’s also critical to familiarize yourself with Medicare options and to ensure you’re covered for health care costs through the rest of your life. As an example, according to Healthview Services, a healthy 65-year-old couple retiring in 2019 will need close to $390,000 to cover health care expenses, including Medicare Parts B and D.
Our lives, for better or worse, are filled with unexpected twists and turns. The more you prepare for those possibilities with lifesavers that might include long-term care insurance, life insurance, or a well-diversified and perhaps more conservative investment portfolio, the better your chances of remaining solvent and comfortable.
Emotional Prep: What Will You Do with Your Time?
Here’s the big question for many people close to retirement (and even people already retired): What will you do with all that free time? Unfortunately, the answer won’t magically come to you — it takes forethought, time, and lots of talking it out. That’s especially true when there are two people involved.
One of the biggest surprises partners have is realizing the other person doesn’t always share their retirement vision. So start the conversation. Ask questions and answer them honestly. Establish shared and individual goals. You don’t have to do everything together — and in fact, it’s healthier to have your own pursuits as well as those you do together. Do you want to explore a second career? Volunteer? Sail around the world? Live near the beach or a ski resort? Communicate openly and often, and keep in mind that visions can change over time. Updates and redirection happen, so be flexible and willing to listen and compromise, so you can both be happy with the choices.
If moving to a senior living community like Canterbury Court is on your wishlist, you’ll be thrilled to know there are more of these options in more great places than ever before. Take time to research senior housing communities online to see what they offer as far as living options, activities and amenities, and schedule tours when possible.
Logistical Prep: Where Will You Live?
A new trend that’s gaining popularity is the “mini retirement.” If you can swing it before you stop working, or even just after you retire, rent a place for a few months in a city or town you’d like to retire in at some point. Some retirement communities even offer trial stays so you can get a feel for the lifestyle there. Even if the ones you’re considering don’t offer this option, spending a few weeks in the same town can give you a good taste of the community atmosphere.
If your dream destination is across the country and involves downsizing, you’ll have additional considerations. One of the first tasks will be deciding what to keep or give away. Purging your collections, old clothes and closets can be a very freeing experience, so approach it with positivity! Once you have an idea of what stays and what goes, consider getting a moving estimate.
And speaking of estimates, this is also a good time to investigate senior living costs and any other fees associated with the living options you’re considering. Be sure to get on a waiting list if one exists.
As with emotional prep, making logistical decisions and plans is all about talking it out. Share your ideas with your adult children, ask your retired friends for advice, and keep the conversation going with your partner. Retirement should be a joyful time in your life, but you need to do the legwork to help make it so.
Let the Dreaming and Planning Begin
Grab a pad of paper and a sharp pencil, and power up your computer — you have some fun work to do. The time for retirement will arrive sooner than you think, so start the conversation and the planning now. As for where to retire, many people are discovering that living in a senior living community is a great way to begin their retirement years. These senior housing options are typically maintenance-free and pet-friendly, with plenty of activities and services available. If traveling is part of your retirement plan, the “lock and leave” aspect of senior living communities makes them the perfect worry-free choice. Learn more about the advantages of senior living at Canterbury Court.