This week’s blog post in our “Financial Planter” series is written by Megan Poore, a Financial Services Professional.*
You have put pen to paper, you have spent years saving, you have a plan (…and a plan B, and even a plan C…), and you have your date picked and circled on your calendar – RETIREMENT DAY. Even after all this hard work, there’s still one aspect of retirement you should prepare for: the emotional component.
Here are a few tips for ensuring that you don’t spend your first week of retirement bored and wondering “what’s next?!”
Have an “exit strategy” – Often, we have clients express that it was much harder for them to walk away from their jobs than they expected it to be. Your colleagues have become your friends, and what you do in your career has become a key identifier for who you are and how you describe yourself. Gradually scaling back your hours, for example, switching to part time from full time, may give you the opportunity to preview what leisure time in retirement will feel like. After years of receiving a paycheck, you may find that suddenly not receiving one anymore leads to anxiety even if you know you’ve done your financial planning. While working part time you’ll also still be earning money, which may alleviate some of that anxiety.
Think about what you want to retire to – While much of your identity and time may currently be wrapped up in your career, you will be well-served to have a few things lined up to look forward to once you’re retired. Your casual hobby may become a more full-time endeavor. Your schedule is suddenly free for volunteering and attending events for your grandkids or nieces and nephews. Travel is an important retirement goal for many people – and it is certainly something to look forward to! It’s always helpful to think about retirement this way: “I retired from ______, and retired to ______.” Now, instead of just introducing yourself as a retired teacher, you can say “I retired from teaching, and retired to being a full-time tutor.”
Review your spending – To answer the question, “How much money do I need for retirement?”, you must know how much you spend. Like how much you *really* spend—not the number you think you are pretty sure you probably spend. This will inform both how much money you should set aside in cash (we recommend 2-3 years’ worth of living expenses) and will better position you or your advisor to figure out whether or not you can continue to live at your current level. After you track your spending, you can factor in travel costs, or the vacation home you’ve had your eye on, etc. You may discover that you have more financial freedom in retirement than you expected.
Build some structure into your day – Having structure in your days gets you out of the house. I have young kids at home, so the idea of *needing* structure is foreign, but with entire days stretching before you with no plans, you could end up spending all day staring at the TV if you’re not careful. Meeting new people and finding new opportunities is much easier when you’re spending some of your new-found free time away from home. Within your community, there are probably many daytime activities that you have passed up on previously because they didn’t fit your work schedule. Explore your options, and be proactive in your activity scheduling so that you look forward to your new version of normal.
Preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for retirement is nearly as big a task as preparing yourself financially for retirement and it is certainly as important. Put in the effort now to benefit from a more seamless retirement transition.
*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Megan Poore and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
Megan Poore, is a financial advisor at Lucien, Stirling and Gray Advisory Group, Inc. in Austin, Texas. In 1999, Megan earned her private pilot’s license. Although she isn’t quite close to retirement yet, you can bet that some of her retirement leisure time will be dedicated to flying. Megan helps both women and men take control and navigate changes in income, retirement assets, business ownership and other matters related to major transitions, and their effects on a client’s lifestyle and family responsibilities.
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