Retirement brings the end of a chapter in your career and the start of a new lifestyle. This unique transition can bring a myriad of emotions, most commonly ones of excitement and apprehension. If you're pondering retirement in the next year or so, here are five tips to help you transition smoothly into retirement.
1. Know the transition could take weeks – or months. You likely spent decades forming a routine around your work schedule. Establishing your new normal of volunteer work, an encore career or helping family will take time. If you are married, remember that your retired status may affect your spouse's routine, too. Talk openly about how you're feeling about the transition to keep him or her in the loop.
2. Communicate your retirement plans with family members. Your parents, kids or other family members will likely be interested in how you intend to spend your retirement days. Will you be visiting grandkids more often? Starting a business you'll want support with? Continuing to host family get-togethers? Planning to move or purchase a retirement home? As you share your plans, don't forget to touch on your financial picture. The benefits of open communication are three-fold: it reassures your kids that you're financially prepared; allows you to introduce (or remind) your family about your estate and legacy plans; and it establishes a safe space for both sides to discuss potentially challenging money topics.
3. Maintain healthy habits. Staying diligent with the activities that help you feel your best is important as you shift into retirement. Prioritize eating healthy, sleeping well, staying fit and maintaining friendships in your new routine.
4. Evaluate your finances. Prior to retirement, you likely outlined how you will manage your cash flow. (If not, today is the day to put a plan in place.) As you enter retirement, review your expenses to ensure they're aligned with your plan. It's common to revise your spending and activities after experiencing the first few weeks away from your primary job, so it's okay if you need to adjust how much you withdraw from your accounts each month. If you want to increase your spending, calculate what that means for your later retirement years, as you don't want your savings to come up short. Consult a financial advisor for guidance on how to make your money last while living the lifestyle you desire.
5. Reset your attitude. Retirement is not the ultimate finish line, even if it may feel like one at times. Experiencing a lot of emotions is common but try to focus on what you're excited about in this next chapter. And, remember you're not alone. Talk to friends, family and professionals in your life for support along the way.
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Ask Doug Messina a Question
Most hardworking Americans dream about retirement. Yet the road to retirement can raise questions along the way. If you wonder when, where, why or how to fulfill your retirement goals, you are not alone. Here are some common inquiries my team hears from clients who are planning for this major milestone – whether it's right around the corner or far off on the horizon. Remember that your dreams and financial situations are unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all retirement solution.