Enjoying Retirement

After all the years, it’s time to sit back and enjoy what you’ve worked for.  It is important to think about what you will spend your money on and what kind of lifestyle you want to lead. It’s time to soak in the good years!

Achieving retirement is a significant accomplishment. It takes a substantial amount of work and dedication to accumulate enough to retire. Naturally, you want to make the most of all that you saved.

Things to know:

  • Figure out the lifestyle you want and how much it will cost you monthly.
  • Make a retirement living plan and do things that bring you joy and structure.
  • Think about using direct deposit and electronic transfers to manage your income sources.
  • Know potential budget buster pitfalls in retirement, such as boredom.
  • Pay off most or all of your credit card balances to save on interest and avoid being burdened during your retirement years.
  • Enjoying your Freedom

    If you’re heading into retirement, congratulations are in order! It's no small feat to make that happen. If you've done enough planning, you’ve probably figured out what you’ll do with your new-found freedom. If not, these tips will help you plan so you can enjoy your time to the fullest:

    Lifestyle:

    • Figure out what type of lifestyle you want in retirement and how much you think it will cost you on a monthly basis. (The Monthly Retirement Picture can help you put a plan together.)
    • Make a retirement living plan and look for things you can do ongoing that bring joy and structure to your life – travel, hobbies, or even training for a new career.

    Budget:

    • Reassess your priorities and make sure you’re keeping your budget in line with what’s most important. Some of the best things in life are free!
    • Create a retirement budget that includes everything from essentials like food, utilities, and housing costs to the nonessentials that make life more enjoyable, such as travel and entertainment.
    • Don’t forget about unexpected expenses – medical bills not covered by Medicare, repairs, increased living costs, etc.
      (To get a sense of what your future medical costs might be, try AARP ‘s Health Care Costs Calculator.)
    • You also have some decisions to make about your home. Do you plan to relocate? Downsize to a smaller home?
    • You might have added expenses for supplemental insurance, prescription drugs, and nursing home care. 

    Income needs:

    • Figure out how much you should be withdrawing and from which sources to start.
    • Look into collecting Social Security payments.
    • If you don't think you'll have enough to sustain the lifestyle you want, consider your options like scaling back, working part-time, etc.
    Contact an experienced professional for additional guidance and answers to your questions.
     
  • Retirement Income

    For many, retirement means big adjustments in their finances and life. Sources of income will change, as well as expenses. Values and priorities change as you move from building your savings to living off your hard-earned retirement dollars. Managing retirement income can be a whole new ball game, so it’s important to have a solid understanding of some important basics up front:

    • First, think about how retirement may change your cash flow. Regular paychecks will be replaced by several sources: Social Security, pension, annuities, etc.
    • Think about using direct deposit and electronic transfers to manage your income sources resourcefully. 
      (Some financial institutions offer mobile deposit – meaning you can use your smartphone to take a photo of a check.)
    • Research and understand how to manage your state and federal income taxes.
      (You may be responsible for quarterly estimated taxes.) 
    • Check with the Social Security Administration (call 800.772.1213 or go to www.socialsecurity.gov) to learn how much Social Security income you should receive each month.
    • Consult with a reputable, certified professional to talk about adjustments to your investments that might help protect your income.
      (Learn more about financial planning and retirement planning through ESL Investment Services, LLC.)

    For an in-depth look, download the workbook tilted “Managing Your Money in Retirement.”

     
  • Pitfalls to Avoid

    There are certain obstacles that can make retirement less enjoyable. Here are some thoughts on how you can overcome the common pitfalls:

    Debt:

    • Pay off most or all of your credit card balances and other loans to save on interest charges and avoid being burdened with repayment during your retirement years. (Visit Paying Down Debt to develop a plan.)

    Scams:

    • Be on the lookout for scammers. Most thieves look to prey on your caring nature and often target retirement communities and older populations. Always verify and be certain of people with whom you work. (Take a look at these suggestions by the Federal Trade Commission about how to protect yourself.)

    Boredom:

    • Compile a list of at least ten different activities and interests that you know will keep you engaged in life.
    • Consider volunteering. It’s rewarding, and you can use the skills and experience you’ve gained to make a difference for a good cause. (Check out volunteering opportunities in your area by going to www.volunteermatch.org.)
    • Continue your purpose. Using the knowledge and skills you learned over the years at work to do something you’re passionate about will keep you on track and fulfilled. (For ideas about healthy retirement activities, visit www.aarp.org.)
    • Spending more because of boredom is an important risk to acknowledge as well. Continue to keep track of spending and activities that can become budget busters.