Everyone looks forward to saying, “My time is my own.” A good retirement would be wonderful if it just happened, yet for most people a little thinking ahead is going to make all the difference.
The first thing that will strike you is that you will most likely have to manage with less money in retirement. Planning five years ahead and beginning to adjust your habits now can help you adjust to this new reality.
It is a good idea to gradually reduce your routine spending until it is nearer to what you expect to have in retirement. This not only lessens the shock when it comes, but provides some spare cash that you can use now to pay off debts, build your savings, and avoid nasty surprise expenses on your house or car.
If your income will come from different sources make sure you have a realistic estimate, and consider getting professional advice. If necessary, you may still be able to revise your timetable for retirement.
Dreams of a life of unbroken leisure are just that! People need structure to their days, and to feel that most days they have done something useful. Now is the time to think about how you will use your time. You may have hobbies already which will blossom in retirement, or you may be happy to take on a new or extended caring role.
Perhaps there is something that you have always wanted to do, but never had the time. Some things will result in new expenditure which you will need to work into your financial planning.
Of course, many people take on new part-time work which (provided it really interests you) can tick two boxes.
It is not just you who will be affected by your retirement. If your spouse is used having the house to themselves much of the time, how will they cope with having you around more?
If you are considering moving nearer to your children and grandchildren, do they really want that? And be realistic about how good you are at making new friends—if your children were to move away, it is your friends who would be your greatest resource, and you may be better off with those you already have.
Talk to family and friends, and listen to their suggestions—they may know you better than you think!
The Longer Term
Quite rightly, most of our thoughts about retirement are focused on what we expect to be the “golden years,” when we are fit and active. But spare a little time to think about the longer term. What if you need residential care? This can be a stressful time for families and you can help by thinking about it now. Look at salvilaw.com which offers a very useful guide to managing the process.
Retirement is a wonderful time to look forward to, and surveys indicate that the early years of retirement can be the most contented of life. But there is no guarantee, and one way to avoid disappointment is by using the years leading up to retirement to practice and plan realistically.
Matilda Williams is a Mom who works part-time in the finance industry. She enjoys sharing her knowledge outside of work and does this through her article writing. She usually focuses on finance and parenting topics; the 2 things she knows the most about!