The process of retiring is a major life event that affects everyone differently—there is no lone path to follow in order to be satisfied with your new retirement lifestyle. For many, this milestone will evoke a mixture of emotions that fall somewhere between anticipation and trepidation.
However, certain methods of planning and mental preparation can make a difference when retirement is a point of concern. The transition may be challenging, but understanding how to handle these three situations will help you better prepare for this new chapter in life:
1. Planning Early, Saving Early
The best offense is a great defense, and when building up retirement savings there is no such thing as starting “too early.” Many experts recommend beginning the process right out of the gate—saving early in your career—making 25 the new 35 for retirement planning.
Older generations have had ‘safety nets’ to rely on in case of mismanaged savings (Social Security, pensions), but with a lack of economic consistency over the past several years and dwindling Social Security benefits, the future of those fallback plans may be in jeopardy. Whether it’s through your employer or working with an advisor, developing a nest egg early-on in life with monthly savings that are consistent and reasonable can help pave the way for your transition into retirement.
2. Spending Your Money
With money in the bank and a life free of long hours and taxing labor, the temptation to overspend and live lavishly can be a tough thought to ignore. Developing a spending plan with your financial advisor is the recommended course of action, and there are new ways to address the ebbs and flows of our economic climate. Along with dishing out a set amount of retirement funds annually, new dynamic withdrawal strategies allow retirees flexible spending. Advisors measure yearly market performance and adapt annual plans accordingly, enabling spending habits that are consistent with a non-retired person.
Alternatively, recently-retired workers who have saved for years may not spend enough—according to a 2014 report by research firm Hearts and Wallets, “28% of people 65 and older with at least $100,000 in savings pulled less than 1% from their accounts.” Practicing frugal spending habits is encouraged, especially if you are able to do so while providing the appropriate standard of living for your family. However, there are examples where the children of retirees show concern that their parents, in the later years of their lives, care more about leaving a financial legacy rather than worrying about their own enjoyment. Retirees who have spent their lives diligently saving deserve happy and healthy retirements, and a balance between excessive spending and frugality can easily be found with the right plan in place.
3. The Psychology of Retirement
The financial transitions of a retiree are often the most publicized issues of the process, but managing the fear and anxiety that can occur when entering retirement is equally important. Someone who has endured decades of the 9-5 may revolt at the idea of living without a schedule, but it’s okay to be selfish and enjoy the time you’ve worked hard to secure for yourself. Staying routinely active, owning a pet or picking up new leisure activities are great ways to find your new normal in retirement.
Feeling nervous about this next phase of life? It’s completely natural—these doubts happen to a large majority of us, but how you deal with these fears is ultimately up to you. Finding a financial advisor who can create comfort and clarity during this transitional time in your life will help ease your anxiety. With mediated dialogue and appropriate planning designed around your needs, peace of mind in retirement can be achieved by just about anyone.
About Cordasco Financial Network: CFN is an independent Registered Investment Advisory firm focused on bringing value to clients beyond choosing and managing the right investments. Whether it’s retirement, owning a business, or pre-retirement planning, CFN creates clarity and comfort while providing financial guidance. To learn more please visit www.cfnplan.com.