We found this interesting article just published on the US News “Money” website. It points out something we frequently tell our clients: preparing for retirement is about much more than money.
The article is called “How toTell if You’re Ready to Retire.” It poses five simple questions you (and your spouse if you’re married) should be asking yourself when deciding the right time to take the retirement leap. Here’s what we found especially interesting: of the five questions, only one is directly related to your income, even though financial preparation seems to be the number one thing most retirees focus on. So – besides money, what else should you be thinking about?
The first question this article asks is a simple one that too many retirees overlook: “Do you have something else to do?” In other words, how will you fill your days once you’re no longer heading off to work five days a week? The time to consider how to use those leisure hours is now, before you find yourself aimless and bored with too little activity filling up too many hours. Part-time work, volunteering or a time-consuming hobby can all be part of the solution.
The second question involves money – indirectly. But it actually involves a trade-off of income versus freedom by asking, “Are you ready to pass up more money for more freedom?” There are many ways to calculate the income you’ll need in retirement, and we’ll be happy to help you work through those calculations, but the real issue is how much your retirement freedom is worth to you. This can make a big difference in deciding on your income goals.
The third question in the “retirement calculus” involves family. The question is, “Do you want to spend more time with your family?” In this case “family” may include your spouse, your adult children and – perhaps most likely – your grandchildren. The US News article quotes one Stanford University study that showed “spending time with grandchildren” as a major reason for retirement for 60 percent of adult respondents. It also points out one caution: make sure you and your spouse have the same ideas about spending more time together, because this can create marital friction after retirement unless you’ve talked it through. Generally husbands want to spend more time with their wives, but wives don’t necessarily feel the same!
The fourth question may seem counterintuitive: “How is your health?” The answer to this question can cut both ways. Some choose earlier retirement because a chronic health condition may reduce their life expectancy and they would rather enjoy their remaining years free from the rigors of regular work. For others, employer-provided health insurance for oneself or a spouse is a major reason to keep working. One thing’s for sure: more than two-thirds of retirees, according to the article, say stress is a significant factor in deciding when to retire. That can have a major impact on your health, perhaps making retirement a more attractive choice.
The last question is the one that seems most obvious, and it’s both the simplest and the most complex: “Can you afford to retire?” No need to go into detail here.
As with every one of these questions, along with a host of others, the best way to chart a course into your retirement years is to make a carefully-considered plan – or as we call it, a LifePlan. It’s your blueprint to help you build a happier, healthier future as you age. A LifePlan can help you avoid unplanned institutional care, and allow you to preserve and protect your assets no matter how long you live. It can also help you avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones. But where do you start? How do you prepare your own individualized LifePlan?
We have the perfect starting place: simply attend one of our free LifePlanning Seminars. We conduct these information-packed seminars frequently, at locations throughout the region. You can find out dates, times and locations by clicking on the Upcoming Events tab found on this website. Bring your questions! At the end of the seminar, you’ll have a much better view of the road ahead.
We’ll look forward to working with you!
(originally reported at http://money.usnews.com)