What does retirement mean to you?
This is perhaps one of the most difficult questions because the answer relies on many factors from financial to emotional to physical to mental. Each of these components works together to help you decide what retirement will look like for you.
And the best part is everyone’s will look different. It’s like a painting class where the entire room paints the same object but each product comes out just a little different. The petals on the flower may be more round in one picture or one person focuses on their shadow work whereas another uses as many bright colors as possible.
So in this case retirement is like a painting class. The destination is the same (retirement) but each person makes it their own. Often in those classes, you aren’t left alone to your own devices. There is a teacher/leader in the room helping instruct and guide you along the way. One tool you can use to prepare you for retirement is a timeline—a general overview of when you want to retire and how you can do it.
Today we would like to talk about your retirement timeline and the factors that will help guide you to a happy retirement.
When do you want to retire?
The first question you will need to think through is when you see yourself retiring. You don’t need to know the exact day or time, just have a general idea of when you think you want to retire.
Are you ready to retire on your 65 birthday or do you see yourself staying in the workforce much longer than that? Some people may want to retire earlier than others and that is ok. Be honest with yourself and your spouse as you talk about retirement and what that means for each of you.
It is also important to check-in on your retirement timeline periodically to see if anything has changed. Keeping this updated will help you, your loved ones, and your financial planner help you come up with the best course of action for your needs.
Are you financially prepared?
Once you have a general idea of when you want to retire, you will be better able to work backward to create a financial plan that makes sense for you and your goals. Someone who wants to retire at 50 will probably need to take a different financial approach than someone who will retire at around 70.
There are so many factors that lead to financial readiness for retirees:
- Ensure your investment accounts are up to date
- Replenish your emergency fund
- Set a retirement budget and make sure it works
- Factor in health care costs and changing healthcare coverage (Medicare)
- Fund living expenses and extra spending during retirement
Figuring out the number you need to be able to retire differs for each person and their lifestyle goals. How do you see yourself living in retirement? How much financial freedom would allow you to live the retirement you want and have planned for? How can your finances support your lifestyle plan?
Financially planning for retirement is a long process that requires a strong, diligent plan that takes into account both your financial needs and your desired lifestyle.
How will you spend your time?
When you retire, so many things change. But the most immediate and sudden change is not going into the office that you have been at for a long time. This is a hard transition. At first, it may seem fun to sleep in a little or watch a bunch of TV shows or go out to lunch with your friends, but after a while, you may find yourself searching for something more.
Planning your time in retirement is a lifestyle factor that may pre-retirees overlook, but it is one of the most significant. The way you spend your time gives your life fulfillment, purpose, and meaning. By taking the time to think about how you want to live after you retire, you are giving your retirement a reason, and answering your “why.” Finding your why is important in each phase of life, but especially in retirement. Without your “why” you may find yourself aging faster, feeling lost, or unhappy in your situation.
There are so many ways to keep yourself physically and mentally active in retirement. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Prioritize your physical health
- Enjoy swimming or walking with friends? Be sure to seek out and keep up with physical activity when you retire. Regular exercise will help keep you healthy and happy longer.
- Find a new community
- Your working years you have had a community of peers and colleagues to talk with, learn from, and enjoy time with. When you retire, that community will change. It is important to seek out a new community to interact with. You may find a community through exercise or at church or education or a shared hobby. Just be sure that you work to develop relationships with others.
- Strengthen your mind
- Mental agility is just as important as physical health in retirement. There are many programs, classes, and workshops for retires to continue their education. Choose something you are passionate about but haven’t been able to pursue yet.
- Work part-time
- Many retires take on a part-time job. Whether it is through contract work, consulting, or working at a local store. We know many Boeing engineers who go out to be box boys at Safeway. No matter what you do, working in retirement is a great way to help add structure to your time.
- You may be surprised to discover all of the many volunteer opportunities right around the corner. Retirement is an excellent time to donate your time and resources to a cause that means something to you. This can also help you find a new community and keep you active.
Retirement + You
Remember, everyone will have a different idea about what retirement should look like. While financial readiness is crucial for a successful retirement, it isn’t the only factor that matters. Your lifestyle goals including where you will live, how you want to spend your time, and discovering your purpose are equally important to help you create a retirement that you will love.
Your retirement timeline may change with time and that is ok. Allow yourself the freedom to be flexible and adapt when you need to. We would love to help you create a retirement timeline that reflects your goals and vision for your golden years. Give us a call!