Not sure what retirement will bring? So are most of our fellow Boomers.
Financial planning is important, but by no means the only prep needed.
Here's 6 strategic planning areas to get you going:
In planning for how you will spend your time, think strategically about how you want to spend each day. Choose to do fewer things you don’t like and more things that make your heart sing. Whenever you can, don’t say “Yes” when you want to say “No.”
Keep in mind that you don’t have to accomplish everything you set out to do in the first year of retirement. Think of retirement as an adventure when you can try new things, meet new people and have a different schedule.
Retirement is one of those life events that many people use to think about whether they want to move. You might be considering relocating closer to your family (or farther away), to a senior community, to an age-in-place village, out to the mountains or near the water, away from the city or into an urban center, or just downsizing to a smaller home near where you now live. The options are limitless, but each takes planning to achieve and a reality check about what will meet the needs of everyone in your household.
Another mistake some retirees make is failing to share retirement expectations with those around them. Remember: What you do in retirement affects everyone in your family and social circle. Is your spouse or partner on board with your plans? How will what you want to do change his or her life? New schedules, lifestyles and finances come into play that can alter each partner’s roles and responsibilities.
When your priorities and your spouse or partner’s don’t mesh, negotiate. Compromise is a key way to avoid driving each other crazy. It’s also healthy for the relationship to make space in your days for “alone time” and “doing my own thing;” too much togetherness can be smothering.
One of the biggest shocks about retirement is the loss of your work identity; you have to come up with a new description of who you are. And just identifying yourself as “retired” says more about what you're not doing, rather than who you are and what you're doing in your new life.
In planning for retirement, take stock of who you are and who you want to be. Many identities won’t change: spouse, parent, grandparent, friend, volunteer, person of faith. But now’s the chance to add to that identity with the changes in your new lifestyle: student, gardener, chef, golfer, traveler, caregiver or whatever your passion is.
Switching from saving for retirement to spending in retirement is a big adjustment. Not getting a regular paycheck means adjusting to new ways of paying for everyday expenses. Commuting and other work-related expenses may be behind you, but health insurance costs may go up. So, before you retire, it’s strategic to have a clear idea of which expenses you’ll need to cover and the cash flow you’ll have coming in (you'll find tips and checklists for getting organized at the start retirement in her book).
Many people fear not having enough money for their desired retirement lifestyle. Her advice: Pay down as much debt as possible before moving to a fixed retirement income. The more interest you accumulate on debt the more burdensome your debt becomes.
Going back to work part-time can be a terrific financial option, too. According to a 2013 Merrill Lynch retirement study, 71% of pre-retirees said they expect to work during their retirement years. Part-time employment, freelancing or consulting work may meet your needs.
There's plenty of websites that list local part-time job opportunities in your area, from after-school counselor or tutor to work with your favorite non-profit. Her favorite: wine hospitality specialist at a local vineyard. You may be surprised at the options where you’ll live.
You have been officially alerted...