I think I can help you retire happy and do the things you want.
Remember that television show, Golden Girls? It was about four women who lived together in a house in Miami. Is that how you envision your golden years?
If not, how will your retirement look?
Maybe yours will be the polar opposite. Perhaps you’ll do extreme sports and travel the world. Or maybe you’ll start a business.
Whatever your vision is for retirement, focusing on three key areas will position you for success.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Financial peace of mind
- Maintaining purpose
- Prioritizing wellbeing
Quickly, I’ve been helping people design their post-work lives and retire happy for 20+ years as a financial advisor. I’m honored to be named to Investopedia’s list of the top 100 financial advisors many years running.
Financial peace of mind
Peace of mind is a feeling of being safe and protected. Without question, I want you to have peace of mind when you retire. Do you have it now?
Way too many Americans struggle financially during their working years and are ill-prepared for retirement. While this means different things to different people, there are some important financial rules of thumb I’d like to share with you.
The last thing you want to do is bring credit card debt with you into retirement. It causes anxiety and can prevent you from enjoying the lifestyle you want. Should you be in debt, you can access our Get Out of Debt course for free. Going into retirement debt-free should be a top priority.
Designing retirement income
You’ve worked hard, saved and invested. That’s supposed to be the hard part. Now, you need to take all the money you’ve saved and turn it into income that will be there for as long as you need it to be. Here’s a wrinkle; how long will that be?
If you retire at 65, you could still have 30+ years to save for (maybe even longer). In order to get financial peace of mind, I encourage people to have enough guaranteed income to cover their fixed expenses.
Where do you find guaranteed income? Traditionally, three places:
- Social Security can provide you with a monthly income for as long as you live.
- If you were fortunate enough to work somewhere that offered a pension, that can provide you with a monthly income for as long as you live.
- You can also use annuities to create a guaranteed monthly income that will last as long as you live.
Not having guaranteed income commonly does one of two things: You spend too much, or you barely spend anything. You certainly don’t want to run out of money. And you also don’t want to be so afraid of over-spending that you end up living hand-to-mouth.
If you’d like to explore any of these options further, you can connect with one of our Certified Partners for a no-cost conversation.
Pre and post-retirement budgeting
I talked about how important it is to have enough guaranteed income to cover fixed expenses. In order to know how much you’ll need, you need to get as clear as you can on what your expenses and budget will be.
You’ve probably got a budget now, but how will it change or differ when you retire? Since every day during retirement might be Saturday, there’s a risk of overspending. Make sure you thoughtfully plan for your retirement spending.
Having the right asset allocation
Again, if you retire at 65, you’ve still got decades of life to live (God willing). When we think about what we should invest our money in when we retire, it’s easy to think we’ll be highly conservative. And for a good chunk of your assets, that’s probably true.
But, it could make sense to have some of your money invested for growth to ensure you keep up with inflation. It makes sense to spend some additional time thinking about your risk tolerance and your asset allocation.
If you’re not familiar with those terms, they’re just fancy investment jargon for knowing your comfort level with risk, and choosing the right mix of investments. To help you determine yours, you can access our Risk Profile.
If you’d like to dig deeper into the financial side of your retirement, check out our Retire Happily course.
We spend a lot of our lives working. Will you work in retirement?
Whether you plan to or not, it’s important to spend some time thinking about where you will find the things that work provides to you. Because it’s probably a lot more than you think. Here’s a quick list of things to consider:
- Work gives us a place to go every day.
- Work gives us community and friendships.
- Work gives us standing and prestige.
- Work gives us structure.
- Work gives us responsibility.
That last one’s a big one. We humans find meaning in responsibility, and it’s important to have responsibility in your life when you retire.
You may think you’re going to spend your days golfing or lounging around. If you’re able to do that and feel fulfilled, more power to you. But that’s not been my experience.
The happiest retirees I’ve seen are those who have purpose, responsibility, and continue to learn new things. I highly encourage you to find an outlet for getting those things.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Pay yourself first.” It’s the golden rule of personal finance, and I think it also maps over to wellbeing. In this case, you’ve got to put yourself first.
I think about wellbeing in three important parts; physical, mental, and emotional. How will you foster your wellbeing in those areas?
How would you rate your current physical health? What changes do you need to make? Will you exercise? If yes, how frequently? What kinds of exercise will you do?
In terms of diet and nutrition, how well do you understand what your body needs (and doesn’t)?
Taking care of our mental health has finally become a topic our culture is comfortable talking about. We all struggle with our mental health. How will you nurture yours in retirement?
Such an important part of life is our emotional wellbeing. The famous Harvard Grant Study found that it’s joy and human connection that makes for a great life. A harsh reality is that many of our seniors suffer from loneliness, a condition that is deadly.
What will you do to support your emotional health, and where will you find community?
Like many things in life, setting your intention will position you for success. I highly encourage you to be as thoughtful and thorough about these areas as you can be.
You can retire happy. You can have the life you want. But it won’t happen on its own, so I commend you for digging into this important subject. You got this!
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