We all have to call it a day sooner or later, but for you –hopefully later. We don’t think about retirement that much, except when we talk to people who have been retired for quite some time and are asking them about how well it’s been going so far. Regardless of how old you are, retirement is coming, and a good question to ask yourself is: are you ready?
No, we don’t mean “is your bank account ready?”, but rather “do you have a plan or even an idea of what retirement will look like for you?”. Chances are that you haven’t spent that much time thinking about it, especially if you haven’t even stepped out of college yet. Regardless of your age or life situation, pondering the great unknowns of what retirement could possibly look like for the +65-year-old version of yourself can definitely be a good exercise.
Here are some questions to get the ball rolling for thinking about what your retirement will look like when it’s time to hang up your hat and clock out for the last time.
Are you going to stop working altogether or part-time it?
Here’s a thought that definitely should cross through your mind –is retirement the “end all” of work for you? Will you cease and desist to any and all labor, or will you simply cut back and focus on much lighter projects that still qualify as work? Many people are workaholics, and their idea of a vacation is not hitting pause when it comes to work, but rather just cutting back on the workload.
For example, if you are a teacher and have taught 6 classes a week for your entire working career, your retirement could look like you scaling back your class load to teaching only 2 classes a week, or hell, even just one class a week. Because why not? You’re retired! This time is about you rewarding yourself for working so hard your whole life. It’s time to focus on the fun stuff now, and not so much the paychecks. If you want to keep working, then that is totally up to you. It’s your retirement, and it should be made up of whatever makes you happiest.
Are you working toward your retirement fund? If so why not, or when will you start?
Lots of people out there will be pushing you as soon as you turn 18 to get started on that retirement fund, which is a good seed of an idea to plant in a young person’s mind. Thing is, if you aren’t making any real money yet, then saving huge portions of your yearly income on retirement alone maybe isn’t the best plan right now. HOWEVER, just because you aren’t making the funds yet, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be at least thinking about the big picture and how you will eventually start putting money aside for retirement.
Just a rough plan is enough to satisfy this requirement. Think about what kinds of activities you want to take part in when you step down from whatever job you are working come time to retire. Travel the world in a hot air balloon? Buy a sports car? Upgrade to bigger place for all the alleged grandkids to come visit you in? Just thinking about the kinds of things you may want can help you plan your savings goals accordingly. All it takes is a few minutes of pondering every now and then, regardless if you are making a ton of money right now or not.
Do your insurance plans stick around after you stop working?
For this one, all it takes is a conversation with your current employer or a scan of that packet you got when your probation period wore off. You want to find out the details of your benefits and how long they will stick around, or even if they will or not. Understand the ins-and-outs of your included benefits when retirement comes around. Things may change, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about them.
What age do you plan to call it a day?
Do you know when exactly you want to retire? The typical thought is that once you hit 65 years-old is when you can call it quits, but the number is only a recommendation, or a boundary that works as a trigger that when crossed allows you to have access to your long-awaited retirement funds. The thing is, you don’t have to retire at 65 if you don’t want to –as long as you can produce the work successfully, whatever that is – you can work as long as you want. Also, the age to receive retirement funds may change in the future, so keep an eye on what the legal age is to be allowed to “officially” retire.
Retire young? Retire old? It’s up to you, but deciding on what it is that you want as far as a timeline is a thought you want to kick around sometime in the near future.
Do you plan on retiring at the same time of your spouse?
Speaking of deciding when you want to retire, when does your life partner want to retire? Will you retire at the same time? Stagger the retirements? For how long will the gap be in between?
Your significant other’s retirement matters because that is a whole extra income that is streaming into your household, and discussing what the transition will look like from working couple to retirees is a conversation worth having as far as finances are concerned.
Stay put in your current house, or move to a new place? And will you buy it or rent?
One of the biggest points in terms of retirement planning is what the future will look like on a daily basis. No, we’re not talking about how much golf you want to play every day or how many games of bridge you want to start with your neighbors every night (I honestly have no idea what bridge is. Is it like GoFish?), but rather where do you see yourself waking up every morning?
Do you plan to stay put in the residence that you currently live in, or move to another place that is either bigger or smaller? If you plan to move, will you buy the place you move into or rent? These questions will help you decide just how much you really need to save for your future and can either take a huge load of stress off of you or add a little on. Your living situation, whether it’s right where you are now or a place closer to your children and grandchildren is probably the biggest point you could decide on when it comes to retirement.
Although the cliché is that when you retire you immediately move south to Florida to wear socks and sandals every day –you don’t have to take that up if you don’t want to. Your future is whatever you plan to do with it.
Already have a plan down for what you want? Great! Good for you. Stick to it, but also keep editing and revising. Haven’t even begun to think about your retirement because you think you are too young? Well, maybe you are still young, but pondering these kinds of questions is a great way to start thinking in terms of long term instead of short.
Youth doesn’t last forever people, so your retirement is at least worth a few minutes here and there to think about.
Have any other questions that should be answered before you consider retiring? Share them down below!