Define It

You’ve probably fantasized about retirement all your working life. But very few of us have taken the time to clearly envision and write down what our retirement life will look like:

  • Keep a notebook with goals and ideas.
  • Refine and prioritize them over time.
  • Be specific (Visiting Italy, Indonesia, Australia and Costa Rica vs. a trip around the world; take grandchildren to Disney World for two weeks before they turn 10 vs. take grandchildren on a holiday).
  • Limit to five goals, but you can amend them as time goes on.

Talk About It

If you are retiring as part of a couple, open the lines of communication about your plans for retirement. If you have children, let them in on their plans:
• Talk with your spouse or children. Your family’s idea of retirement may be quite different than yours. Find out now, rather than later.
• Topics of discussion: What will your retirement look like? When will it happen? Will you stop working completely or phase work out? Will parents live with you during retirement?
• Determine some boundaries around independence and couple-time.
• Discuss living arrangements and who will be a caregiver when it is needed. Is everyone on board with those arrangements?

Find A Focus

There’s a misconception that retirement is all golf and wine tours. While retirees certainly enjoy their leisure time, those that really feel energized tend to find a focus and passion and pursue it:
• Volunteer for an organization you believe in, start a business you’ve always dreamed about, or take a course to learn a new skill.
• Put a concrete plan in place to do it – determine how much you need to save for tuition, learn how to set up a website, or set a timeline for launching a business.

Estimate How Much You’ll Need

Now that you are armed with a picture of your retirement, you can get to work on a realistic budget:
• Decide when you would like to retire.
• Create a plan for building your nest egg; you may want to work with a financial professional.
• Your savings should bring in enough investment income to keep you afloat during retirement.

Get Fit

Being physically fit during retirement is key so that you can enjoy your time and activities:
• Book a comprehensive health checkup with a physician to evaluate your fitness level and to detect any issues that may become more serious.
• Know your workout style. Do you prefer exercising in a gym? With a group? Alone? If you exercise in a way that works for you, you’ll stick with it longer.
• Don’t like the gym? Just start walking. Walking is one of the easiest, cheapest and safest ways to exercise.
• Find an exercise buddy or trainer to get you motivated and make you accountable.

Create a Social Network1

Once you retire, a person may lose their network of support they’re accustomed to, which could lead to depression in some cases. To prevent that from happening:
• Create a routine and structure that includes time for family and friends.
• Just because you are no longer working doesn’t mean you can’t put your skills and knowledge to good use. Consider mentoring others that can benefit from your experience.
• It’s easier than ever to stay in touch with former co-workers or family across the miles with social platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
• Use social media to find clubs, volunteer, or locate social events in your area

Get A Will And A Power Of Attorney2

It may feel uncomfortable, but it’s crucial to determine how you and your family want your estate settled:
• Decide how you want to pass on your wealth after you’re gone.
• Use a will and powers of attorney to make your wishes known.

No One Is An Island: Get Professional Help3

Just as you would consult a trainer to help you get fit, working with a financial professional could get you into financial shape. Together you can:
• Set life and financial goals and priorities for now and for retirement.
• Create a plan with concrete steps to get your money working for you over time.
• Determine the amount of risk you can comfortably take.
• Develop a strategy to minimize your taxes in retirement years as you begin to withdraw funds from your accounts or sell your assets.
• Formulate your estate planning.

Written By Denise O’Connell, MoneyTalk Life