Prepare for the retirement process

You can call it an assessment, checkup or discovery, but a key part of planning for retirement is taking an overall look at what’s going on. See where your money is invested, check the performance and scrutinize your contributions. Online tools, such as Bankrate’s best retirement calculator or retirement income calculator, can help you to see if you are on track to accumulate enough money to meet your expenses and the live you want to live in retirement.

Find out about sources of income, track your cash flow, get your team of advisors ready, be aware of your psychological and relationship issues, find your activity options, consider part time work, and educate yourself to avoid retirement shock.  Take a course; talk candidly to a retired mentor, read some books and blogs on the subject.  Get a heads-up on the possible problems because a whole new lifestyle is not just about the money.

Start saving earlier and save more

The Pay Yourself First advice comes into play in hand with a structured plan put into place as early as possible.  In a poll of retirees, 58 per cent suggested the start early idea as outliving your money is a real fear as 65 year olds live on average to 83 for males and 86 for females. A Harris-Decima poll says that immediate family needs are taking priority over long term planning.  No wonder people are planning on working longer. Financial experts now recommend saving as much as 15 percent of your salary for retirement. You can get there by increasing the amount you save by a one or two percentage points at a time.

Work with a Financial Planner

Those who work with a professional do better financially and have much less anxiety about their abilities to sustain themselves.  Find someone you trust and who will keep you informed and educate you as well.  Tax and estate planning come into the picture here too.

Pay off debts while you are still working

This one is proving to be a challenge for many.  Some retirees are in debt that has grown in the last year.  This can turn into a black hole as a downward spiral pattern emerges.  Lay off the credit cards unless you pay them off monthly and realize you may not have the same lifestyle as you had before retirement.  Create a “What-IF savings account if you have to replace your car, fridge and washing machine within months of retirement.

Don’t leave work too early

This is both for financial and psychological reasons.  Health issues and pink slips happen but, if given the option, make sure you have written the last chapter of your career story.  Have something to retire to and choose your timing carefully.

Travel while you can

Again health issues and pre-existing conditions put a real drag on those itchy feet.  Insurance costs may become prohibitive or you may be denied insurance altogether.  Travel is number 1 on many Bucket Lists and so do not wait.  Get going.  You may want to stay at the campground rather than a 5 Star hotel but do not let a smaller travel budget keep you home.

Don’t be afraid to retire

Despite the fact that only few people are very positive about retirement, majority are concerned about their futures as retirees.  Often the anxiety that exists prior to retirement is greatly reduced after the first 2 years of retirement.  Retirement is not a one size fits all concepts.  Make of it what you wish.  It is a transition rather that an event and it is up to the individual what the next stage of life looks like.

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