Tag Archives: Retirement Checklist

Things to do Before You Retire

Things to do Before You RetireWe have divided our list of things to do before you retire into two categories. First there is the usual financial priorities which we will list in a moment. These are the ones that most people focus on. There are other areas that are non financial that are also important. If you are going to truly enjoy your retirement, regardless of when you retire, pay attention to these areas as well.

Financial Things to do Before You Retire

The first section is all about creating the right conditions to provide as much flexibility as you can financially. You want to enable you to do the things you want to do in retirement, whatever they are. Basically it is maximize income and minimize expenses. Arrange a budget that helps you avoid more debt.

Pay off the Mortgage – no mortgage payment frees up all kinds of cash flow that can be used for all kinds of things. Without this burden you have much more freedom to live in the manner you wish.

Reduce debt i.e pay off cars and loans – the same applies to loans and other debt that you may have. Pay it off, go to one car, focus on reducing your debt payments to zero. You want the flexibility of cash flow to deal with whatever comes at you later in life.

Ensure you have sufficient pension income and savings income – review your income and where it will come from. If you feel you do not have enough, added savings may be in order. Reduced expenses or even downsizing might be needed.

Minimize your expenses – we tend to be a bit frivolous with money especially the small change. Before we know it the money is gone. Watch the big and especially the small expense areas. Reduce or eliminate where possible to build cash flow. Build savings and have more free cash to do some of the really important things you always wanted to do.

Lifestyle Things to do Before You Retire

You may have all of the money that you need to live a comfortable lifestyle, however if you are bored, not challenged or miss the social side of work there is a good chance of really not enjoying your retirement years. Focus on the following areas can sometimes help with these issues.

Create goals – for yourself, review them regularly, adjust them as needed and most important build a plan to actually make them happen, just like you might at work. This will give you purpose and something to look forward to.

Getting adjusted to Retirement – does take time and it is different for each person. Some have so many hobbies and things to do that they wonder why they ever worked while others watch the grass grow and are bored. Review all of the items in this post and figure out what is right for you and what would make it interesting for you during your retirement.

Exercise and eat in a healthy manner – to stay healthy. If you do not have your health you are not going to enjoy retirement. Your health is a precious commodity that you can lose at any time.

Travel – may not be for everyone, but if you want to travel do not put it off. There will come a time when you are unable to travel and you will wonder why you did not do it.

Live on a reduced budget – let’s you sleep at night, especially when you know you have enough income and savings to live comfortably. Establish a realistic budget, track your expenses and adjust as needed.

Keep in touch with friends – having a social life is incredibly important. Never lose site of your friends, help them when needed, and enjoy them for as long as you can.

5 Lies We Tell Ourselves About Retirement Saving

Lies We Tell Ourselves About Retirement SavingWe all tell ourselves lies from time to time. It makes life easier and we are able to get along with our lives. The problem is when we begin believing these lies and do not do something about the issues. We could find ourselves in serious trouble at some point. We may not achieve the retirement that we have always dreamed about. Our team summarized 5 lies we tell ourselves about retirement savings in an effort to help people identify these issues. they may be able to make the changes they need to make to ensure a comfortable and happy retirement.  If you have dreams like the couple in this picture sitting on a sailboat or some other dream, pay attention and quit telling lies to yourself.

5 Lies We Tell Ourselves About Retirement Saving

I have time to catch up on my savings. This is the biggest one that we all fall into. It is simple math to figure out how much money you need to save each month to achieve the level of savings that you will need in your retirement. Your financial adviser can help with these calculations.  You will need to know how much income you need once you retire. What the sources of the income will be? Some will come from pensions and social security. The remainder needs to be generated from savings. How long will you save? How much can you save each month? What interest rate will you assume and how fast will you take out your money in retirement? Your adviser can help you with these assumptions and do the calculation for you.

I am going to die broke. But what happens if you live longer than you expected and now have to live in poverty? Can you predict when you will die? Even if you do not want to leave money for the kids, you still need to make sure you have sufficient funds to live out your life in comfort.

More Lies We Tell Ourselves

I will not linger. Maybe your parents did not linger, but with better health care, we are all living longer. Sometimes we live in spite of ourselves. When the time comes none of us really want to die.

Investment companies just want our money. Yes they want to make a profit, but they only make money over the long term if their clients are doing well. They get paid and they invest your money wisely. At the same time never blindly hand over your money to an adviser. Diversify your investments and get involved so that you know what is going on.

I will adjust to the income I have – easy to say but sometimes very difficult, especially if you must downsize your lifestyle. When we retire we have more time on our hands and that usually means that we spend more money too. Adjustment can be very difficult.

Do You Have a Retirement Vision?

Retirement VisionMany people who are not retired ask me what I do with my time now that I am retired. I actually have a hard time answering the question. My days are full with different tasks, hobbies, a small part time business, exercising and managing our investment portfolio. I jump from one to the other. Also I don’t hesitate to accept impromptu invitations. I meet for coffee with friends, lunch or even a beer at the pub.

Finding a Purpose

But the real question is not how do I fill my time, but rather what is my vision for the next 10 years and how will I feel about how I spent the last 10 years of my life. What I do know is that I do not want to work for a company, punch a clock or answer to a boss. So going back to work is out of the question. Fortunately I have enough money for retirement so this gives me a lot of freedom.

Do I want to be well known for having volunteered and help a lot of people. Do I want to be known for a low golf score because I went golfing every day? Or do I want to be able to say I travelled a lot and went to many different places? There are a thousand questions and everyone has different questions and interests. Some people will say that all they want is to be near the family and help out as much as then can.

Retirement Vision – More than Money

Most people will focus on making sure they have enough money to retire, however how can you answer that question if you do not have a vision. If your vision includes going on a lot of expensive trips, then your retirement funds better be rich enough to allow you to enjoy this kind of life style otherwise there will be some disappointment.

Start by listing some of things that you would like to do during retirement. List what you think will make you feel that you accomplished something in 10 years time. List those things that you want to be remembered by. Test your lists against your financial resources to make sure you have sufficient funds to accomplish those items on your list. If not you may have to begin setting priorities and decide which ones you want to consider keeping and those that you may have to downsize or abandon.

Huge Challenge

This is by far the biggest challenge that you will have as you plan for retirement and even if you are currently in retirement. It is never too late to take on this challenge of developing your own retirement vision.

Retirement Checklist – Mid 30’s to Mid 40’s

Retirement ChecklistIt may seem that is far too early to even think about saving for retirement, however the simple math shows that if you begin early, not only is it easier to save for retirement, you can almost be guaranteed to have more than enough for retirement. Planning and then forming habits about saving for retirement pretty much ensures that you can have a comfortable life, subject to your expectations.
The chart above shows the age that savings begins and the amount you have to save each month to achieve a retirement account of $750,000 with an average 0f 8% return on the investments. It is pretty obvious that if you start early , you only need to save a small amount each month until you retire. If you delay savings until later years, the amount you need to save goes up dramatically.

Expectations

Why do we talk about expectations. Well I recently met with a friend of mind who was worried that he might not have enough for retirement. He is 65 and will have a combined income from several pension plans of $110,000 a year. After I picked myself off the floor I said to him, that there is always more stuff you want. There is always more things you want to do than what you will be able to afford,. But this level of income in retirement will be more than sufficient. Most people would give their eye teeth to have even half that amount.

Retirement Checklist

The following is a plan for getting started with retirement savings starting in your mid 30’s. Follow it and you will not need to worry about retirement funding:

Timeframe: Mid-30s to early 40s

Objective: Develop the habit of saving.
Savings: 1.5 times your annual salary before taxes by age 35.

  • Take full advantage  employer-sponsored retirement plan savings which  is the easiest way to put your savings on autopilot.
  • Boost your contribution. Increase your savings rate as your paycheck increases.
  • Explore other tax-advantaged ways to save. Depending on the country that you are in, there may be other tax advantaged savings opportunities that you can explore.
  • Six month Emergency Fund. Always have six months of savings tucked away somewhere that you can draw on if you are laid off or have a health issue that prevents you from working.

Invest in Quality.

    • Never invest in high risk investments. Seek out quality blue chip investments that have both a growth potential and pay dividends.

Timeframe: Mid-40s to early 50s

Objective : Focus on how you invest your money.
Savings: 3 times annual salary before taxes by age 45

  • Review your portfolio. Work with a financial adviser and re-balance your portfolio along the lines of your investment profile. This can be scheduled annually or after a significant change in the markets.
  • Update your investment strategy. As you get closer to retirement, you will want to update your investment strategy and reduce risk exposure that may be in your portfolio. The objective is to move in the direction of preserving capital and maximize income.
  • Catch-up contributions. If you have fallen behind on your contributions or just want to make an extra deposit, this is the time to do that. Getting ahead of the savings curve can have huge benefits in terms of meeting your objectives at retirement.
  • Give yourself a reality check. Use one of the retirement calculators that are available and plug in the numbers. You will know quickly if you are on target or not and whether you need to make some adjustments to your assumptions and savings plans.
  • Consolidate retirement accounts. Many of us have more than one job through our career and may also have more than one retirement account as well. Consolidating them can make it much easier to manage and achieve your objectives. Always make sure that your investments are diversified across stocks and bonds.

Timeframe: Mid-50s and beyond

Objective: Decide what type of retirement you want and how much money you will need
Savings:6 times your annual salary before taxes by age 55.

  • Prune my stock portfolio. As you get closer to retirement and plan to withdraw your funds, you will want to keep more of your portfolio in cash so that you are less exposed to market fluctuations. Having 2 years worth of cash is a great way to avoid having to sell low to meet your retirement cash withdrawals.
  • Plan your retirement. When you retire, how will you fill the hours of each day? Will you travel, will you move, what hobbies will you follow and will you have the money to meet your plans? fill your days and you will enjoy them much more.
  • Review your  income plan often. As you approach retirement, it is a good idea to review your plan often to confirm and update assumptions about your expected income as well as your planned activities and expenses.
  • Decide when to take Government Pensions. Taking government pensions early usually means a reduced pension, however cash flow and money needs may make it necessary to cash in early. Health issues are another issue. Use one of the calculators to help you decide when to take your government pension.
  • Develop a Plan B. Life throws a lot of curves at us. Over a 30 or 40 year planning horizon, many changes to your assumptions can occur. Develop a plan B that helps you to meet your goals. Some people will do a sensitivity analysis on their assumptions to see what happens. For example, assume you will need to retire at 60 instead of 65 due to company layoffs. What does that do to your retirement savings plans and life style?

If you spend some time on this now, retirement will be far more rewarding and quality of life will be far more enjoyable! For more ideas about retirement planning, click here.

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