There’s a lot to consider when you think about retirement. We tend to think that retirement is, finally, the freedom we have been looking for all these years. But there’s a lot of practicalities, as well as emotional things to consider in your life when you are lining your ducks in a row. Whether you think that you need to downsize or get your finances in order, what does it take to prepare for retirement?
Things To Consider When Preparing For Retirement
Look at Your Surroundings
In other words, where you live. Are you going to be happy living there 20 or 30 years from now? Is it practical for you to live there? And will your home suit your changing health needs.
In retiring, you’ve got to think about your home and if it is everything that you will need. It’s always possible that you may need to change or upgrade your property, purely so it meets your practical and physical needs. In which case, you can find a townhouse for sale, or a bungalow which will give you the space you need but allows you to keep your independence. You don’t need to have more space, but you just need to make sure that your surroundings are comfortable for how you want to live in your twilight years.
Things to consider include:
- will stairs be an issue as you age?
- what if you ever need a wheelchair or a live-in caregiver?
- will you be capable of the home upkeep?
- is it close to public transport should you no longer have your driver’s license?
- do you need to be close to shopping, hospitals and doctor’s offices?
- how close do family and friends live should you need them?
More than ever, your home in retirement should give you comfort, peace of mind and make you feel safe and secure. Make the right decision about where you want to live and you won’t have to move again.
You Should Put Your Finances in Order
There’s your retirement income, of course. But more importantly, you need to think about how much money you will realistically spend in your retirement. When it comes to saving up for retirement, the biggest mistake people make is either under or over-estimating what they think they will need monetarily once they are no longer working.
For some, spending may taper off. This can be due to various reasons.
- You are no longer driving to work so you save on gas, insurance and repairs.
- If you had a dress code at work, you will save on clothes.
- If you ate out for lunch or participated in after hours activities, you will save that money too.
However, there are many expenses that will stay the same while your income decreases and you need to consider whether or not you will be able to afford them.
Clearly the biggest liability is your mortgage.
It used to be norm to be mortgage free once you retire but that is no longer necessarily true. If you have a mortgage, a line of credit, a car payment and consumer debt, your reduced income may not be able to cover your commitments.
You don’t want to carry money stress into your retirement. Decisions will have to be made so that you are able to live comfortable and happily. Be realistic with your estimated income and expenses and you will be better prepared to make the right decisions about where you would like to live and how you would like to spend your time in your retirement years.
Are You Going To Like Retirement?
It is a very practical question that you need to ask yourself. Don’t automatically assume your answer will be a resounding yes.
Some people find that retirement is all they have ever wanted in life, because it gives them the freedom to do what they want, when they want, where they want and with the diminished responsibility of a job. They have plenty of hobbies and/or goals to keep them motivated and active.
On the other hand, there are people that don’t fare well in retirement. They become isolated, lonely and loose their sense of purpose. They begin to deteriorate quickly both mentally and physically. Especially if they live alone.
Some people that have worked their entire lives find retirement is just too boring or not stimulating enough. They don’t have enough to do, and many people find that after retiring, they can’t put up with the monotony for too long. They end up going back to some sort of job because it gives them some sense of value and a routine. Many seniors find volunteering a way to give back and give them purpose at the same time.
It is important to really understand yourself and not let society or your friends and family dictate what your retirement should look like. Do what is best for you so that you can enjoy your later years in good mental and physical health. This is what you have been aiming for your entire working life.
Retirement doesn’t have to be a dull existence. Craft and create a life that gives you motivation, but also makes you feel fulfilled. Retirement is something you should enjoy. You deserve it!