Table of contents:
- Key to Success #1 – Get an Early Start
- Key to Success #2 – Identify Your New Purpose
- Key to Success #3 – Test Retirement First
- Key to Success #4 – Health Matters
- Key to Success #5 – The Money
The road to a happy retirement can be a bumpy ride for many. But, if you plan things right, it can be a wonderful experience. As financial advisors, we have seen it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Our job is to try to prevent the bad and ugly. This blog will identify the five keys to success in retiring based on our years of experience to get on the right track and keep you there.
Key to Success #1 – Get an Early Start
We have found that successful planning takes time to complete if you are doing this retirement thing right. Time is a gift that allows you the space to go slow and be thoughtful. Time is a gift that helps you avoid impulsive decisions that are usually not ideal for you and your family.
We live in a culture that when you reach some arbitrary age retiring is the thing to do – simple as that. But, is retiring the best thing for you, just because that’s what you are supposed to do? We think not.
In fact, we could cite many examples of people who ended up going back to work because the grass wasn’t as green as they thought it would be. One needs to really think about what makes them tick and how you will get what you need out of life when you step out of a current position or role. This process takes some time to work through so slow down and commit to working through the issues.
Key to Success #2 – Identify Your New Purpose
Employment provides a lot of structure. One has to get up in the morning to be at the office or log on by a certain time or be at the airport to catch a flight for an important meeting. Employment also provides many social opportunities. Many close friendships develop in the workplace environment. And, let’s face it, employment provides financial benefits that enable one to pay bills and provide insurance coverages and other benefits. And, inflation has not been a concern because salaries have kept up with the cost of living. But, all of that is gone after retirement. Now it’s going to be up to you. Do you have a variety of interests that you can jump into that will get you out of bed in the morning and provide a high level of fulfillment? Perhaps you do, or perhaps you need time to develop that new interest, volunteer role, or new social outlets. Retiring without purpose can leave you feeling anxious and uncertain about the future. Retirement will likely be a big pivot and require a great deal of change. Are you up to the task? Key to Success #3 will go a long way to helping you explore what retirement will be like.
Key to Success #3 – Test Retirement First
Before you actually retire, test it out. Work part-time and see how it feels. Do you find yourself looking forward to the structure of the next workday or are you checking emails and texts throughout the day from colleagues? Or, can you separate and actually look forward to days free of responsibility and you don’t feel guilty doing the things you want to do. Where you fall on this scale might give you a clue about whether you are ready to retire. The other aspect of retirement has to do with where you want to live. We have seen all too often a client move to be near their children and their families or to some new city/state and it doesn’t work out.
Before long they are back where they started and, in the process, have wasted a lot of time and money. So, you might want to start by spending more time renting in that dream location and see how it goes. And, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention retirement community considerations. There are some wonderful options today you may want to explore. It pays to take your time in the testing phase.
Key to Success #4 – Health Matters
It’s cliché, but true, without your health you have nothing.
We have seen too many cases of retirement leading to failing health and even death. Frankly, some just can’t seem to find their footing after retirement.
Physical and mental health can become compromised if a commitment isn’t made to a regimen of physical activity, good nutrition, and emotional support in their lives. It’s easy to fall into a trap of more sitting, eating, busyness to avoid going to the gym.
There will be stages of emotions, but, you may have to work hard to keep moving, socializing, and stimulating your mind – all important facets of a healthy retirement experience.
Key to Success #5 – The Money
How could we ever talk about a transition to retirement without addressing the finances? Most come to us to talk money, but, usually, there is much more to it than money. That’s why we are talking about it last. However, that said, the topic is surely a critical one. It’s a time to evaluate income sources, investment allocations, risk management, budgeting, taxes, and your estate plans. A good financial advisor will help ensure that all of those components are integrated with your life goals so that money does not become a worry, but, rather a facilitator for living a conscious and fulfilling life in a retirement filled with joy and adventure.