Some retirees succeed at realizing the life they want; others don't.
Fate aside, it isn't merely a matter of investment decisions that make the difference. There are certain dos and don'ts – some less apparent than others – that tend to encourage retirement happiness and comfort.
Retire financially literate.
Some retirees don't know how much they don't know. They end their careers with inadequate financial knowledge yet feel they can prepare for retirement on their own. They mistake creating a retirement income strategy with the whole of preparing for retirement, and they gloss over such factors as longevity risk, risks to their estate, and mental/emotional challenges. The more you know, and the more you collaborate with a financial professional who knows, the more your retirement readiness improves.
Retire with purpose.
There's a difference between retiring and quitting. Some people can't wait to quit their job at 62 or 65. If only they could escape and just relax and do nothing for a few years – wouldn't that be a nice reward? Relaxation can lead to inertia, however – and inertia can lead to restlessness, even depression. You want to retire to a dream, not away from a problem.
The bottom line? Having written, well-considered goals is not just a nice idea - it's critical! Retirees who know what they want to do – and go out and do it – are positively contributing to their mental health and possibly their physical health as well.
Smoking, drinking, overeating, a dearth of physical activity – all these can take a toll on your capacity to live life fully and enjoy retirement. It is never too late to change habits that may lead to poor health. Retirement may give you the time you have been craving to exercise and increase your overall health.
Retire where you feel at home.
It could be where you live now; it could be a nearby place where the scenery and people are uplifting. If you find yourself lonely in retirement, then look for ways to connect with people who share your experiences, interests, and passions, those who encourage you and welcome you. This social interaction is one of the great, intangible retirement benefits.
An abrupt break from the workplace may be unsettling.
As a hypothetical example, imagine a well-paid finance manager at an auto dealership whose personal identity is closely tied to his job. His best friends are all at the dealership. He retires, and suddenly his friends and sense of purpose are absent. He finds that he has no compelling reason to leave the house, nothing to look forward to when he gets up in the morning. Guess what? He hates being retired.
On the other hand, if he prepares for his retirement years in advance of his farewell party by exploring an encore career, engaging in varieties of self-employment, or volunteering, he can retire with something promising ahead of him. If he broadens the scope of his social life so that he can see friends and family regularly and interact with both older and younger people in different settings, his retirement may also become more enjoyable.
A successful retirement is not measured in financial terms alone.
Practically all retirees have some financial anxiety.
You see this reality in people who have $60,000 saved for retirement; you see it in couples who have $6 million saved for retirement. Their retirement strategies are about to be tested, in real-time. All that careful preparation is ready to come to fruition, but there are always unknowns. Confidence and goals can help meet each challenge as it comes.
Retirement challenges people in two ways.
The obvious challenge is financial; the less obvious challenge is mental. Both tests may be successfully met with sufficient foresight, creativity, and wisdom. One of the wisest things you can do is connect with an experienced, fee-only financial planner to walk through the retirement transition with you.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.