Sometimes long vacations can seem like a test run for retirement. Long walks on the beach. Endless rounds of golf. All the umbrella drinks you want. But there’s more to retirement than just all the cliches of tropical relaxation.
You are going to have plenty of regular days at home. But what will those look like? And how will you feel about being retired and on a “fixed” income? Are you confident in your current retirement plan to keep you not only financially comfortable but also enjoying life all the way to the end?
Here are three ways to test run your retirement plan for greater success and fulfillment later in life:
1. Start Thinking Like a Spender
No, we don’t mean to start spending frivolously. We mean to start wrapping your mind around the idea that you will be moving from a saving mindset to a spending one. Because you will have chosen to invest wisely with the help of a trusted financial advisor, you will likely be receiving an income from your assets. But, for many folks, it can be a mental mind twister to no longer have a paycheck coming in (even if you owned your own business).
Some recent research from BlackRock and the Employee Benefit Research Institute showed that even after 17-18 years of retirement, retirees across all levels of wealth had 80% of their pre-retirement savings remaining. And that was even more likely for high-net worth individuals, who have assets worth more than $1 million.
You’re going to have to trust yourself and trust your retirement plan that you have enough to support the retirement lifestyle you want for the rest of your life. And enjoy it!
2. Start Figuring Out Your Budget
A budget can really help you get into the right “spending versus saving” mindset. Now, a lot of folks think a budget means that you are limiting your spending, but a budget simply means telling your money where to go. And by figuring out a budget now, you will already have a game plan come retirement. No one wants to be the person who runs out of money, but you also don’t want to be the person who has millions just sitting in the background while you watch your life pass your by. It’s your money. You should leverage it to help you meet your goals, but also to make sure you live a fulfilling final chapter.
Once you have your budget all written out or put into a spreadsheet or app — whatever works best for you (and your spouse) — take it for a test drive. See how it works for you for a month or so. You can make the necessary adjustments now so you’re ready once retirement comes along. You may uncover that you need more or less than you anticipated and can work with your financial advisor to make modifications as needed.
3. Start Planning a Routine
Aside from the money aspects, you also need to consider your time. It makes sense that all you can think of now is how great it’ll be not to have a plan. No meetings, no deadlines, no responsibilities. Woohoo! But, throwing routine completely out the window can be a huge change to you mentally and physically. Just think about the first few weeks of the pandemic when we were all asked to stay inside. It was certainly strange for many of us!
Often, mental health can be a touchy subject for some, but you do need to consider what a change in routine will do to yours. Remember that you will have had a schedule from the time you started school in kindergarten or preschool all the way through your working career. That’s a long time! And mental health can especially be a struggle for newbie retirees. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic caused depression and anxiety to skyrocket in adults of all ages, one in 10 (11%) older adults — those age 65 and older — reported depression or anxiety on the 2018 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. Consider printing out a calendar and writing up a model week of how you think you may spend your time, including when you will take care of non-negotiable responsibilities, your physical health, socialization, and household responsibilities to protect your mental health in this new stage of life.
Still Need Some Help Preparing for Retirement?
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