Retirement is the golden age of chillin’, right? No more alarm clocks, no more office politics. Just you, doing what you like on your own time. Seems like one big period of life to take it easy, but then again, retirement isn’t just a long span.
Another way to look at it is in three stages, with early, mid, and later retirement years. The first few years of retirement are what we call the “go-go years.”
And what in the world are the go-go years? Imagine it’s the honeymoon phase of retirement, where your knees still work, and your joints aren’t creaking when you get out of bed. These are the years when you are practically bouncing off the walls with energy and excitement. It’s the retiree version of a kid in a candy store. The world is your playground, and now is the time to make the most of it.
Planning Before Go-Go(Ing)
Now, let’s rewind a bit. Before you can lounge away on a beach or take up flamenco dancing, don’t forget about that small thing called planning. You see, a fun and confident lifestyle in the go-go-years doesn’t just happen. You have to put some careful thought into it, ideally during that crucial decade just before you call it quits.
The financial experts and talking heads don’t call it the “retirement risk zone” for nothing. Not quite like ‘danger looms ahead,’ but more like ‘your lifestyle could be in jeopardy’ if you don’t plan ahead.
First of all, let’s talk money. You need a well-built plan for how much moola you will need to keep the good times rolling. Are you planning to buy a yacht, or are you cool with a kayak? Do you want to hit the road hard? Travel to distant lands? Explore new hotspots in your backyard?
How much will your goals cost? Knowing your financial goals is like having a map for your retirement adventure.
Know Your Income for the Best Outcome
And don’t be fooled – your go-go years can be a bit of a cash muncher. All those dreams of traveling, trying out new hobbies, and maybe splurging on the occasional spa day can add up. So, it’s time to whip out that calculator and crunch some numbers.
How much income do you need each month to live your best life? How much income after you have paid taxes? Where is that money coming from? Social Security? Pensions? Maybe you have a secret stash of gold bars buried in the backyard.
Whatever it is, you should have a plan for the funds will be flowing from. You don’t want your go-go years turning into “uh-oh, where did my money go?!” years.
Prepping for the Good Life
Let’s be real – retirement isn’t just about kicking back. It’s about winning at living your dream life. To do that, you have to be the captain of your financial ship. So, go ahead, plan for those go-go years, and let the good times roll – with a well-padded wallet.
But there is also a catch. Enjoying the high life is great, but not if you run out of dinero later in retirement! Your post-work span can go for 30 years or longer – quite an extended period. The burning question is this: How can you make your money last for that long?
Start with a 30-year sketch-out of what you expect your spending to look like. Not sure of what your spending will be in later years? Or perhaps you aren’t quite retired yet. No matter, your current spending will give a great clue-in as to what matters to you, what your future level of spending might be, and how much monthly income will pay the bills.
Separate your anticipated expenses into two groups:
- Essential spending, which are monthly expenses tied to your lifestyle
- Non-essential spending, which are less crucial expenses and often relating to life goals such as traveling, entertainment, recreation, and charitable giving
Since retirement can go for a whopper of a long time, 30-year projections of your spending in each category will be a huge help in planning your income. Don’t forget about the money-munching effects of inflation. Adjusting your spending estimates by 2-3% each year will help keep the good times rolling and your financial security in place.
If your income sources aren’t lining up with your financial needs, explore ways to close the gap. Annuities, bond ladders, or CD ladders are a few income-producing options that you might explore. Talk to your financial professional for more guidance.
Enjoying Your Best Life in the Go-Go Years
Life isn’t just about money. It’s about making the most of the moment – and in the case of retirement, living your dream life in many, many moments across time.
Once you have kicked off your work shoes, how will you spend that newfound free time? If you have a spouse or partner, what are their retirement goals? Do you have shared goals that you have been putting off? No doubt you have some activities that you enjoy on your own.
Before you rush into retirement, spend some time plotting out how you will enjoy this hard-earned point of life. The go-go years are typically the most active of your golden years. And the ones with the best health! So, think about how you will spend your time day to day, cross things off your bucket list, and make some fun memories that will stay with you forever.
You might even test-drive your expected lifestyle for a few weeks and see how you like it. Then once you say goodbye to your full-time career, you have a taste of what this stage of life will be: making new friends in the same age range, spending time with loved ones, getting involved with causes you care about, traveling to places you have always wanted to visit, so on.
Don’t Forget About the Later Years
Of course, the go-go years aren’t the only stage of retirement life. You also have the slow-go years – where retirees tend to take it a little easier than before – and the no-go years – when people’s health and mental capacity have changed. Those retirement dollars need to give you smooth sailing in all these phases of life.
An experienced financial professional can help you in many ways here. They can explain ways to stretch your retirement dollars and make them work the best for you. You can find options to cover healthcare and long-term care in later years with multiples on benefits paid out for each dollar that you put into various insurance products.
Again, it’s all about helping you live your best life and remain financially comfortable. Secure tomorrows start today. By planning ahead and adapting to change as needed along the way, you can have the retirement of your dreams. So, plan ahead for those go-go years, don’t forget about the slow-go and no-go years in your prep work, and enjoy this season of life. Cheers to your fabulous, financially secure retirement!
While we are on it – are you looking for someone to help you with these important questions about your financial well-being in retirement? An experienced and independent financial professional can be a great partner for helping you enjoy a lasting, financially confident lifestyle. Many financial professionals are here at SafeMoney.com who can assist you.
Get started by visiting our “Find a Financial Professional” section, where you can connect with someone directly. You can request an initial appointment to discuss everything on your mind and put a plan into action. Should you need a personal referral, please call us at 877.476.9723.