Knowing when and how you would like to retire are thought-provoking questions. Determining what retirement means specifically to you involves careful thought, planning, and even some dreaming about what will make you happy.
For many, retirement is one of the most important decisions they may make in their lifetime. The basic, universal definition of retirement refers to the “time of a life when one chooses to permanently leave the workforce behind.” But, as we all know, retirement requires preparation. You may ask, “Will I have enough money when I want to retire? How much can I afford once I retire? What type of lifestyle have I budgeted for when I retire?”
All of these, and more, are difficult questions that should be asked and answered. Some people target a specific retirement age, commonly between 62 and 66. Others aim for a specific dollar figure in their retirement accounts. And reaching beyond the financial goals set for retirement, people must also consider the emotional component. Life may change; the daily job routine may be no more. How will you fill your time? Some have bucket lists they’ll happily check off as the gift of time has rewarded their years of service. Others may be less focused, and boredom or restlessness could set in.
Every retirement plan is unique, just as each person is unique. Questions regarding financial and emotional readiness may differ depending on the individual, family, and professional situation. Following are a few topics we believe you should ponder and address when considering retirement.
Am I financially prepared to retire AND live the way I want to?
When determining whether you are financially ready to retire, be sure to attend to some big-ticket areas, including assessing your spending and your family’s needs, calculating income from various sources you may have, ensuring that you have some liquid cash, and managing your healthcare coverage.
Of course, there are other factors, but let’s break down the aforementioned:
- Assessing your spending
Estimate how much it may cost you to live as a retiree, and how expensive it may be to embrace the lifestyle you imagine. Creating a budgeted framework to calculate your likely spending habits is a great starting point. The more precise your budget, the better equipped you may be at determining when you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
- Calculating income
Consider all of your retirement accounts, social security, income from rental properties and other investments. Crunching the numbers and mapping out your projected income against projected expenses is perhaps one of the most accurate determinants in retirement readiness.
- Ensuring cash liquidity
Having some liquidity in cash can be very important for many reasons. It is generally a good idea to have money in a savings account for use in the event of a financial surprise. No one has a crystal ball, so in the event of an emergency, accessible, liquid cash allows you to pay bills without withdrawing from your investment accounts.
- Managing your healthcare coverage
As a member of your employer’s healthcare plan while you’re working, chances are you may not be permitted to participate in that plan in retirement. At age 65, however, you are eligible for Medicare, which may cover most of your retirement medical expenses. Keep in mind, healthcare costs vary depending on an individual’s situation. Planning, using your health status as your guide, may help you be prepared well in retirement.
How does my spouse, significant other, or children feel about me retiring?
As you consider retirement, it’s a great idea to include your loved ones in the conversation. Yes, you have worked hard for years to put yourself and your family in a sound financial position to retire, but you should consider how your retirement may impact those dearest to you. Communicating your plans may help prevent any major surprises after the big event. Making certain that all interested parties are on the same page may help allow for a smooth transition and deliver peace of mind.
How will I spend my time once I retire?
This is the fun part! Beyond the financial aspect of retirement, decide what it is you would like to do. Charting a course, no matter how detailed, can serve as a guideline for what comes next. Some decide that full-fledged retirement lacks appeal and may choose to work part-time or provide consulting services. Others may jump at the opportunity to develop hobbies or explore interests such as traveling. Still, others may long to give back to the community by volunteering and performing good works. Your interest may be a mix of all, or perhaps none listed. There is no wrong way, just your way. Take some time to think about how you would like to spend your time in retirement. Possibilities are endless.
Do I think I will be happy in retirement?
Deciding to retire is not just a financial decision, but also an emotional and psychological one. As mentioned, retiring is not just waving goodbye to the workforce. In many instances, people who are happiest during retirement are the individuals who have figured out what they want to do and how they plan to devote their time after they retire. You have spent years committing your time and talents to reach the point where you may choose to retire. We at PCG believe you should enjoy it. Soak in the activities and opportunities you love, and welcome new adventures - whatever sparks your fancy.
Regardless of when you plan to retire, Private Capital Group can help you plan for it. Every individual’s financial and emotional state is distinctive, and we believe that every retirement plan should be specifically motivated by the individual client. Engaging in dedicated conversation with your wealth advisor and using our industry-leading financial planning tools and software can help you visualize your retirement and gauge when and how you can retire on your terms.
Your PCG Wealth Advisor is eager to collaborate and design a retirement plan that is unique to you. Your future matters – let’s plan for it now.
Enjoy your weekend!