“Forget finances, you’ll never be ready to retire, unless you've thought through exactly what you want your next chapter to be like.”
In the past, people usually retired when they reached 65. They stayed near their family homes and died after just a couple of years. We now see retirement very differently.
Some folks are now working well into their 70s or even 80s at their current job or at a new position. Some seniors continue to work full time, and others work part-time, with time for vacation trips and leisure activities in their routine. Some people remark that they’re busier now than when they worked full time.
Kiplinger’s recent article, entitled “The Emotional Side of Retirement Planning,” explains that the majority of people who are happily retired spent a lot of time thinking and planning for it.
People in their 60s should be thinking about retirement. While most have started to make plans, others have trouble formulating a strategy. Nevertheless, everyone wants to know whether they can afford to retire. The answer is usually “that depends.” It depends on the answers to some questions like the following:
- What do you see yourself doing your first week of retirement and how does that feel?
- If you’re married, how does your spouse feel about retiring?
- Do you think you’ll stay in your home or downsize?
- Do you want to live in warm weather or a cooler climate?
- How’s your health?
- Do you want to leave a legacy for your family or spend your money now?
Figure out what your retirement looks like. Before you consider whether you can afford to retire, check where you are both psychologically and emotionally. If you’re not ready mentally, then boatloads of money won’t make you 100% happy in retirement. It’s not unusual for people these days to spend 15-20 years in retirement.
The Stages of Retirement
Many people first think of retirement like it’s a long vacation. Some return to school and take fun courses, change professions or find new hobbies and interests. Many new retirees do more traveling or get involved with church or charities. But after the novelty of retirement declines, many people gravitate to a slower and more settled lifestyle.
Physical health may start to decline, and at some point, many aren’t able to live on their own and require assistance. Some try to stay in their homes with help, some go to assisted-living facilities and others enter nursing homes. Everyone has a distinct set of circumstances, and decisions must be made on an individual basis. Available finances impact how, when, and where someone retires. With more resources, there will be more options. However, every potential retiree needs to have a well-thought-out plan in place that makes sense for them financially and emotionally. Speak with an elder law attorney about creating your game plan.
Reference: Kiplinger (May 2017) “The Emotional Side of Retirement Planning”
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