Preparing to Retire
Too early to
think about it? Not necessarily -- although it's a familiar
saying, it's nonetheless true that it's never too early to
start preparing for retirement. Here are some
considerations to help you plan for this very important
stage in your life.
Look over your finances. In
order to know where you're going, you'll have to know where
you stand right now. If you're in debt up to your eyeballs,
this is probably not the time to retire. If that's the
case, don't wait -- start this very minute by setting up a
personal budget. Develop a plan for your spending, and set
apart a certain percentage of your income for your
retirement. To enjoy your current standard of living after
you retire, you'll need between 70 and 90% of your current
Consider your needs and goals.
probably always had some idea of what you wanted to do with
your retirement. If not, now's the time to clarify. Do
you want to travel? Spend time at home with the
grandkids or garden? Devote more of your time to public
service? Knowing how you want to spend your retired years
will help you understand what you'll need in terms of
finances -- and well-being.
Supercharge your health
Now is the
time to make a healthy lifestyle your first priority. Do
you smoke? Stop now, and you'll reap the rewards in terms
of more years to spend with your grandkids and a stronger,
healthier heart and lungs. Carrying around a few extra
pounds? Now’s the time to drop them -- you'll see your
blood pressure improve and your stamina increase.
your body as the priceless asset it is as you prepare to
Speak to your employer about your pension
plan.Check to be sure about what you can
contribute, and whether your employer matches funds.
Another important tactic for many people is to open an IRA
and contribute annually. Check with your bank to confirm
eligibility and get started.
Have a heart-to-heart with your spouse.
Take a morning or an afternoon to discuss your
plans over coffee. What plans and experiences are important
to your spouse? What are the things you'd like to do, even
if they seem a little "out there?" Make sure you're both
clear on what's important to each other. And make sure all
the relevant legal papers are signed.
Review your Social Security statement.
Are there any surprises here? If so, call the agency and
have them explained now, not later.
Consider a little counseling. Some
career counseling, or even old-fashioned cognitive
counseling, can help you clear away outdated expectations
and focus on how you really want to allocate your time. This
time is valuable, and it's important to spend it in ways
that give you the greatest satisfaction. You might want to
travel, volunteer, pursue a hobby, or even start a new
These tips for
preparing for your next stage in life might not amount to a
guarantee, but with luck, they'll make getting ready for
retirement easier. For many people, this is a rich phase of
life -- many found what they considered their "true calling"
after age 60. Like them, you might find that retirement
turns out to be one of the most creative and most productive
times of your life.
Blake Kritzberg writes for FavorIdeas.com, where you can find fun anniversary favors and absolutely perfect Las Vegas party and wedding favors.