There are many reasons why people who could retire are hesitant to do so. The pandemic for one! Some people think they need to wait until they’re 65 or older. Some are worried about running out of money. Some want to support their children through major life transitions like college, marriage, or buying a first home. Some worry about the high costs of health insurance.
The most common reason we see for a retirement delay is folks who can’t imagine their lives without work or a paycheck. That’s understandable. A routine that’s sustained you and your family for 30 or 40 years can be hard to shake.
Retirement doesn’t have to be all or nothing right away. If just thinking about retiring makes you jittery, use these tips to ease into retirement a little at a time.
1. Talk to your family.
Clear, open communication is an essential first step to approaching retirement. Be as honest as possible about what you’re feeling.
- What worries you about retirement?
- What excites you?
- Where do you want to live during retirement? Is it the best place to be as you age?
- What does your spouse want retirement life to be like?
2. Talk to your employer.
Many companies have established programs to help long-time employees transition into retirement. You might be able to trim back your hours gradually to get an idea of what days without working will be like. Double-check how any retirement benefits you may have will work. Discuss any large outstanding projects with your supervisor. Establish a plan to finish what’s important to you, so that you can leave your job feeling accomplished.
Self-employed? Give your favorite employee (you) less hours and fewer clients! Update your succession plan and start giving the soon-to-be CEO more of your responsibilities. Make sure you have the absolute best people working for you in key leadership positions, so that your company can keep prospering without your daily involvement.
3. Make a “rough draft” of your retirement schedule.
Try filling out a calendar of how you’ll fill your days in retirement. Open your mind to new possibilities that will be available to you when your time is your own.
- What are you passionate about? Are there hobbies you’d like to explore further and develop into a skilled craft?
- Do you want to get serious about working the kinks out of your golf swing?
- Are there household projects, repairs, or upgrades you want to tend to?
- Do you have an idea that you’ve been kicking around while working that you’d like to build into a new company?
- Is there a part-time job or volunteer position at an organization that is important to you?
- Are there any new things to try or places to visit?
- Are there grandkids or other family members you want to see more often?
As you start to scale back your work hours, take a few lessons or volunteer shifts. Sign up for a class. Leave town for a long weekend. See what appeals to you and what doesn’t.
Remember, you don’t have to get your schedule right the first time! A successful retirement will involve some trial and error. Learn from things you don’t like and make a point to spend more time doing the things you do like.
4. Review your finances.
We often work with our clients on their vision for retirement. Your money should be a vehicle to reach your goals and retirement is a big goal for most of us. Talking with a professional can ignite your thinking. There may be more to consider than you initially thought! With a clearer vision of retirement, you’ll be better positioned to create a retirement plan to ensure you are financially fit for (semi)-retirement.
It is important to examine our clients’ sources of income, retirement accounts, pensions, savings, potential taxes owed, and insurance coverage to layout a projection of where your money is coming from and where it is going. Coordinating all aspects of your situation will lead you down the best course of action.
You don’t have to face retirement alone or make big decisions without expert guidance.
If you are dreaming of those days when work is optional, let your imagination run wild and decide to make a plan to navigate successfully through your next chapter of life.