Three Essential Ways to Plan and Prepare for Your Retirement
by Lizzie Weakley
Planning for your retirement should begin several years before the happy event. There will be much to do as you transition from full-time employment to a different lifestyle. Most likely, your income and expenses will change as a result. As you start making preparations, don't overlook these three important aspects that will help to make your retirement enjoyable and comfortable.
Organize Your Finances
Take a close look at your current monthly budget or an approximation if you don't actually have one in writing. Then project the changes that you expect to occur when you retire. For example, will you keep working part-time, start receiving a pension or subsist solely on Social Security? Retirement can last decades as people live longer, healthier lives, so give some thought to your expected income and adjusted bills following your last year to work. Since your tax bracket will possibly change, you may want to enroll in tax planning classes to understand how your future income will be taxed based on tax laws pertaining to pensions and Social Security.
Plan Your New Lifestyle
Start thinking about where you would like to live when you retire. If you have moved away from your adult children and grandchildren, perhaps you want to move closer to them. For a recreational or leisurely type of retirement, you could buy a beachfront condo or a mountain cabin. Someone with health problems or with a preference for security might decide to opt for senior housing with plenty of conveniences and support, as well as the freedom to come and go as you please while enjoying onsite programs, services and dining. Consider the monthly income you will need to enjoy any of those lifestyle options. You might want to add more to your IRA or investment account to ensure you have adequate funds to support your retirement in the future.
Take the First Steps Now
In addition to stashing away more money to prepare for the golden years, you can make some other preparations as well. Depending on how close you are to retirement, you can start downsizing your furnishings and personal effects, so you won't need as much space in the future if you move. Scoping out the neighborhoods where you want to live after retirement will help you acclimate to a new lifestyle and community with its amenities. You can explore distant locations online and drive around local areas to check them out.
It's almost never too soon to start planning your retirement. When it comes, you will be glad to have everything you need to facilitate a smooth and care-free transition.