We often have clients who come to us and say, “I am thinking of retiring.” The concept is simple enough – you stop working and enjoy the fruits of many years of labor, saving and wise investing. Many people dream of a life spent doing whatever they want with their free time and making the most of their golden years. However, to make the most of one’s retirement, there are questions that have to be addressed during the working years. These questions may include details like when to start taking Social Security and what Medicare plans to enroll in. They also likely include broader questions such as, “What do you really want out of retirement?”
You can enjoy the retirement you’ve always hoped for—you just have to plan for it ahead of time. In the Mosaic planning process, we encourage clients to save for retirement (and whatever else you expect to spend your money on) but we have found it is important to also help people, like you, think about what you really want to do during this stage of life. Many people assume that they will just be able to automatically fill the days with meaningful activities – spending time with the grandchildren, reading great books, playing tennis or pursuing other dreams and goals. Unfortunately, many people find these activities fun for the first six months but eventually grow bored of them. When planning for retirement, you need to prepare for your golden years to be just that, years. The average life expectancy of someone who reaches 65 is 83 years old – that means more than 50 percent of those who retire at 65 will live more than 18 years in retirement. You deserve to spend that time doing something you truly enjoy.
What is retirement to you?
Determining what you want to do in retirement is important but it can be fun as well. Many people find a discussion with a “retirement coach” or a life coach - which we have in house at Mosaic - to be helpful. We suggest trying to envision your perfect day and your perfect week and using those examples to figure out what a successful retirement might look like. Maybe, for you, that includes continuing to work and you just want a change or to spend time in new ways. Sometimes a great solution is to work part time and spend your free time travelling and enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle.
What have you set aside?
Your retirement planning also needs to consider whether you have enough set aside to last the rest of your life and this number is different for everyone. At Mosaic we can run scenarios for you to see if buying that dream house is feasible, if starting up a small winery is going to bust you or if you can afford to travel first class for your three big trips per year. Often answers to these questions are not a matter of “yes” or “no” but instead finding the right trade-off based on what you really want.
Other things to consider
Most people also need help with complex decisions like how and when to apply for Social Security and Medicare. If you’re one of them, that is completely normal. We try to help simplify the issues, so you can make the best decisions for you. If you are ready to retire, we can help roll over your 401k and other retirement plans. We also encourage you to set up a cash reserve to help you avoid pulling from your portfolio when the market is being disagreeable. Finally, we can also help you with your changing insurance needs questions. For example, do you still need life insurance?
We’re here to help
What is retirement to you? As you begin to think about your goals, come talk to us. There are big questions to answer and lots of technical ones as well and we can help you work through it all so your retirement is everything you deserve.