As you near the end of your working life, you are probably wondering about a lot of different things. With so many different things to think on, you may even be asking, “What are the five most important retirement questions I could ask?” Getting a grip on every aspect of your retirement planning is, sadly, made to be more complicated than it has to be. Though you should absolutely consult with trusted professionals to secure your financial future as your last day approaches, these questions will help you frame the discussion as you meet with your advisor.
Who are you spending retirement with?
This question has two parts: financial and relational. From the standpoint of your money, you must look into who is going to rely on the income from your investments – you and your spouse, any dependent children, etc. Knowing who all falls into this category will help you figure out how much to save.
From the standpoint of other people, the question turns into a consideration of your social environment. How do you plan to fill your days when work is no longer part of the equation? The ability to meet new people and have stimulating conversation is a key to happiness for retirees, so consider which groups you’d like to join up with.
What do you plan to do?
Much like understanding how many people you’ll be supporting is important, having a clear picture of what it is you want to accomplish in retirement is a big key. Are you hoping to travel all over Europe? Have you always dreamed of volunteering for a summer or two on an archaeology dig in Guatemala? Your golden years are certainly a time to be enjoyed, but until you have an idea of where you would like to go, you have no real clue as to how much you’ll need to have saved in order to fund that lifestyle.
When can you retire?
Once you have figured out what your desires are, you can plan a budget for when you leave the office for the last time. Based on how your wealth projects, you can spend the remaining years you have at work pushing money into your savings accounts and investment portfolio to support that. Though you might have a bit of trouble catching up with only two or three years to go, you can still make some course corrections that allow you to achieve far more than you might have first guessed. The key will be to look deep into your expenses for areas to make cuts.
Where are you going to live?
As you begin looking to trim the fat in your spending, one of the first places you might consider is your home. This can mean something as simple as downsizing to reflect the fact you have an empty nest or relocating to an entirely different city with a lower cost of living. It can be exceedingly difficult for you to leave the cherished memories of the house your family grew up in behind, but keep nothing sacred – your financial health and well being depends on your ability to make smart decisions about where your money goes. When you add up the cost of upkeep and utilities, it could be an easier decision than you would think.
Why should you stop working?
Sure, there are plenty of reasons to give up being a desk jockey when you reach retirement age, but the fact of the matter is you don’t have to quit drawing a paycheck altogether. Thanks to a shortage of workers, there are a variety of industries looking for experienced professionals to lend their expertise on a part- or full-time basis. In addition to giving you the opportunity to pass on your wisdom to another generation, you will be able to continue earning an income that supports your dreams for the future with much less pressure than your time in the corporate world. Encore, a service designed to connect retirees with non-profit organizations needing help, is a great place to start.