Adjusting your lifestyle before you get there
Preparing for Retirement
by Pat Mestern
The Pre-Retirement Checklist Every Boomer Should Have
A Tool to Determine the Best Time to Take Social Security Benefits
Are You Afraid You'll Outlive Your Savings?
A number of people have asked how to prepare for retirement. Considering the number of people that will be over 50 years of age in the next ten years, it's a valid question. Even though you may be living on a limited income and raising children, you should also be thinking about your retirement years. There are tomes written about retirement and income needs. Most make good bedside reading. In order to approach the subject a little differently, I went looking for a few happily retired people for some good down-to-earth advice. The information they imparted is invaluable.
Even if struggling to raise a family, plan for retirement now. Remember the old Amish saying - To soon, old; Too late, smart. Retirement can be very pleasant if plans are well thought out in advance. Write down your retirement desires, needs and wants. It's not too soon. You need the written encouragement to work toward a goal.
Know where you want to live, how you want live, if and when you want to make a move and why. Never make hasty decisions about such an important issue.
If you own your home, make sure that all expensive electrical appliances i.e. stove, fridge, freezer, washer, dryer, computer are replaced before retirement. Have all major house repairs done.
Retire with no debt. Pay off all credit cards, your mortgage, your car and any other outstanding loans. Replacing your vehicle will be the biggest post-work expense. Have enough money in the bank to do this. You don't want to negotiate loans after retirement. Use credit cards or line-of-credit for major expenses such as a holiday, but only if you can pay the balance at the end of each month. Try to pay everything with cash.
Imagine how different retirement will be if you are free from debt.
Take the first step now to a debt-free retirement!
Begin to track your expenses to give an accurate picture of spending habits. Lose the bad habits, expand on the good.
You can live on far less when retired. One gentleman mentioned that with no debt, he lives well on 40% of his former wage. You don't eat as much so groceries are cheaper. Clothes are not so important. Restaurant meals are a treat, not a necessity. Commuting charges are almost nil.
Restructure your lifestyle to fit your finances. Gear retirement activities to comfortable expenditure levels. Walking is far less expensive than membership in a gym.
You don't need to accumulate STUFF after retirement. You should be giving some away. Remember, looking is pleasurable; recreational shopping can lead to financial hardship.
Pursue a hobby, but only if it generates enough income to pay for supplies. Some hobbies are financial burdens. If this is the case, switch to one that is as creative yet demands a more reasonable financial outlay.
Scale festive occasions back to comfortable financial levels. Don't give gifts if you can't afford to buy them.
When you are retired, don't do without because you want to leave a financial legacy. Your children should be the first to encourage enjoyment of life in your retirement years.
Have you started preparing for retirement?
Our pre-retirement checklist will walk you through the steps you need to take.
If possible, ease into retirement over several years. Too quick a change is difficult for some to handle, mentally and physically.
Don't approach retirement as you did work. You don't have to follow a 9 to 5 routine. You're free from the clock. Slow down. Relax. Take time to read, to reflect, to enjoy life without hassle.
Begin now to put emphasis on the simpler things in life. Not only are they worth your full attention, they are usually less expensive to pursue.
Retirement is inevitable. Look forward to the day with all your strategies firmly in place.
Periodically Pat Mestern provides us with frugal living tips from a Canadian perspective. You'll find some of her other musings at PatMestern.com.Take the Next Step:
- Subscribe to After 50 Finances. You've learned how to work smarter, not harder. This weekly newsletter is dedicated to people just like you. Subscribers get a FREE copy of our After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist, a list of everything you need to do to be ready for retirement.
- Find information geared specifically for Baby Boomers in The Dollar Stretcher section dedicated to your financial issues. If you're over 50 your financial needs are different. And so are your questions.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
Debt is preventing me from saving as much for retirement as I should be! Tell us: Yes, debt is hindering my ability to save for retirement and I could use help dealing with it! or No, debt is not a problem but I'd love to discover more ways to save as I head into retirement!
Baby Boomer Tools & Resources
Trending in Baby Boomers
- 6 good reasons to put an annuity in your 401(k) or IRA
- 6 great reasons to use Social Security's website
- 6 ways to receive your payouts from an adjustable-rate reverse mortgage loan
- Pros and cons of saving for retirement through your state
- choosing the right retirement community for yourself or your parents
- What you need to know about Medicare coverage for inpatient stays
- Turning your home into a bed & breakfast
- This week's Readers' Tips