Avoid the Retirement Blues

Even as you enter your retirement years, your financial planning shouldn’t stop.  Having financial foresight and leading a frugal life can help you ensure a comfortable life and following certain simple tips will help you maintain the stability for the years ahead.  Two of the most common mistakes that people make as they approach retirement are to underestimate how long they’ll live and the costs of healthcare. Ineffective financial planning can cause you to incur debts; and therefore, you should always try your level best to plan your finances before you retire so that you can lead a peaceful life after retirement. Always remember that neither life nor financial planning ends with retirement.

Keys to prepare for retirement:

  • Start saving as it’s never too late: If you’re someone who’s already saving, whether for retirement or for any other goal, keep it up! But if you aren’t, you should immediately start.  Remember that it’s never too late to start saving and you should always strive to increase the amount you save. The sooner you start saving money, the sooner you will be able to accumulate more money to fund your retirement needs. Make retirement saving a priority, devise a plan, and stick to it throughout the years.
  • Determine your retirement needs: Although you may feel that retirement will not be expensive, as you will mostly stay at home, this is often not the case.  As you start living on a fixed income level, you should always cut down your expenses to the point that you can live within your means, engage in activities you enjoy, and always be able to save money for future expenses.
  • Save money in your employer’s retirement plan: If your employer offers you a retirement plan, you should immediately check whether you’re covered through that plan and also understand how it works. If you want to see the benefit, you should ask for the individual benefit statement to see what your retirement plan is worth. Before you make the decision to change jobs, verify what will happen to your retirement benefits and find out if there are any options for transferring the account to the next employer.
  • Consider the basic investment principles: How you save for your retirement is as vital as how much you can save. The investments that you have made in various retirement accounts will play a vital role in shaping your retired life. Know exactly where you’ve invested your dollars, the withdrawal options/requirements, and the tax implications.  Without this information, it will be difficult to efficiently manage your retirement nest-egg.
  • Stop misusing your credit: As you will be living on a fixed income level, you should always think twice before using your credit cards.  Always carry cash instead of credit cards so as to avoid any headaches in the long run.

Invest more time planning your retirement than planning your vacations.  Realizing your nest-egg will be woefully short as you are approaching retirement age would be a shame.  Follow the steps mentioned above to stay on the right track.

James
 

James retired in 2005 after serving 21 years in the United States Army. During the latter part of his career, James' interest in personal finance was piqued based on his own experiences and observations of the way most Americans plan – or more accurately, fail to plan – for retirement and the difficulty many face in starting the process. His most valued education has been lessons learned from personal experience and through conversations with smart, savvy friends.

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