Retirement should be prepared for!
We spend a significant amount of time preparing for our working years. Our parents taught us the value of hard work. We may have attended several years of post-high school education. We worked hard on our job skills, and maybe even mastered the art of office politics, and all of this with a single goal in mind. We wanted to retire one day. We wanted to achieve financial independence so that we would be able to do what we wanted. And then the magic day finally came. We took our gold watch and strolled into the unknown: retirement.
And yet, studies have shown that the majority of Americans spend more time planning for their next vacation than for their successful retirement. Today, thanks to advances in healthcare, it's quite possible that you'll spend almost as much time in your retirement years than you did working!
OK, I'm retired. Now what?
The first months of retirement are typically referred to as the "honeymoon" phase. No more alarm clocks, deadlines, or office politics. It's great! Now you have time to travel and to catch up on all those home repairs you've been meaning to get to. Eventually though, reality begins to set in. What to do with your time? Your assets? Your life?
I'd like to point to three areas of focus that should help you formulate some of your post-retirement plans:
1. Your Income
Where is it currently coming from? Are there things you could be doing differently? Will it last as long as you do? How can you protect your income from taxation? From market risk? What if you die? What if you don't?
2. Your Family
How can you protect them? Can you maximize their inheritance? If you get sick, can they take care of you? Do you need a trust?
3. My Legacy
How will you be remembered? How can you preserve family harmony after you're gone? Who should handle your affairs? Are there charitable organizations you'd like to support?
These questions are designed...
to help you get the wheels turning. You should examine your future activities and goals in the light of the above topical questions. A good financial planner can help you with these issues, and assist with any implementation of your plans.
Have a great weekend!