If you ask anyone who is on the other side of retirement for some advice, their answers might well surprise you. Though we often think of retirement as an investment, there are other considerations.
Paying the bills aside, having a free schedule to pursue the activities we enjoy is real freedom. Planning for enjoyment is as important as making sure your 401K tops off when you get to your 60’s.
If you plan on going back to school for the fun of it, you may need to adjust your deductions now. If travel is the goal, finding the least expensive means to see the world should be on the to-do list.
Life after retirement should reflect your desires. And ensure you have the means to maintain them.
Here are the seven things you should do now.
Expect the Unexpected
No matter your age, emergencies happen. Experts tell us every group of workers in the US has less than $5,000 ready cash. So, if the car dies or the roof needs repair, most will dig into a retirement fund or go into debt.
Not only does this slow the retirement track, but debt for older workers can gunk up a tight budget.
Look at expenses on which you can save or take a side gig long enough to bank $3500 or more.
Plan Your Housing
Our most expensive investment is our home. You may plan to live in your current house forever. Or, sell it for the proceeds. Plan for it to be complete at retirement age or before.
Your living expenses with a lower income will go much further without rent or mortgage. If you must pay, the housing can gobble up 30% or more of your income without blinking.
And, the plan to live for free with family does not always work out.
Save More than You Should
There are enough prescriptive plans for saving for retirement to fill a library. As we should have excess coverage on insurance, we should likewise save more than experts tell us.
Lifenet Insurance Solutions offers sound advice on how much is enough. Consider having more than one stream of income. Set aside several years of living below your means.
This can help you save more than the obligatory employee 401k deduction. Diversify your means for saving as much as your portfolio.
Plan for Social Security Later
Those who wait to start collecting their social security income get more money. Depending on your year of birth, you have a retirement age mandate.
If you begin collecting before your full age, you’ll get less. And, if you have a spouse that is receiving too, it can be much less.
But, if you start collecting years after the mandatory age, you get more. As much as 30% more. For example, those born in 1959 have a retirement age of 66 years and ten months.
If they retire at age 70, the calculation will be 125.3% of social security’s retirement age benefit.
Your Last Day of Work Myths
When the day comes to walk out of the workplace for the last time, we tend to believe the fantasy of it more than the truth.
Many believe their longtime co-workers will remain a part of their life. And, that all the things they couldn’t spend time on before will take up most of their days.
Though anything is possible, many find this picture is nothing like the truth. Coworkers are busy working. You may be able to clean up those pesky projects in a few weeks.
Then what? Be as ready for the significant change as much as you can. Plan for long-term commitments. Volunteer work or church groups have a myriad of opportunities to help and learn.
Make Your Interests a Way of Life After Retirement
We all have interests outside of our family and work. With good luck, we have a few people with which we can share them. Whether it’s a book club or scuba diving, make time for them every year.
You will find they recharge your batteries. And, help you learn something new about yourself. These activities will sustain your curiosity and make life more enjoyable.
Retirement doesn’t mean you don’t need them anymore. Plan to enjoy life as much as you plan anything else. Learn the joy of teaching others, too.
Plan a Community
If you had nothing but time, with whom would you spend it? Our answers may change over time, but our preferences do not.
We each build our community of friends, loved ones, and the services we most enjoy. Retirement makes us think of villages already running with everything a senior needs.
5% of retirees live in communities with planning around golf and other activities. It may be the highlights which bring them in, but it’s the camaraderie that keeps them there.
Sharing time with those who are most similar is comforting and satisfying. Whether you choose a community or a place of your own, surround yourself with those who know you best.
Money VS Happiness
Though we often equate money with happiness, it’s not always the case. Many of us stay in jobs we hate for the money. The fear of starting out new can keep us stuck.
The truth is, when we’re happy, success will follow. Those who take the risk over a steady paycheck become creative in new pursuits. For some, life after retirement was a beginning rather than an end. Colonel Sanders began KFC in his 60’s.
Carol Gardener began Zelda Wisdom in her 50’s after a divorce left her broke. It’s never too late to start over. Plan for your money as much as you plan for your happiness.
Check out our blog for more inspiration.