Seniors: Create Your Retirement Plan

Jul 11th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Retirement is not and cannot be a sudden, impulsive decision.  Baby Boomers need to be ready for one of the most important changes in their lives, and aware of a multiplicity of extenuating factors which will assist a comfortable retirement.

There should be no hidden surprises or unanticipated pitfalls awaiting you in retirement.  Try to be in as much control as you can over your choice.   Be sure you have all the information you need to make the right decision at the right time.  It takes time and research to reach this level of readiness.

  • The first consideration is, are you paid up on all your social security quarters.  If you lack credit in any of those, how long will it take for you to be maxed out?
  • Additional factors influencing your readiness include
  1. debt load,
  2. savings of any kind,
  3. age of your spouse,
  4. eligibility for medicare,
  5. life insurance and other supplemental insurance coverage,
  6. taxable income,
  7. qualifying for benefits and making sure you are registered for them.

As in real estate (Location, location, location)  there are 3 rules that apply to retirement:  Resources, Resources, Resources.  Determining your resources (including the seven items identified above) and being sure everything is in place will contribute to your ability to be retired comfortably and to avoid unexpected crises along the way.

Retirement may offer another option.  If semi retirement, continuing to work part time or as a consultant, is available and resources are an issue, perhaps seizing that opportunity will be in your best self interest.  To do so means that your employer (or another organization) will agree to terms that work for both of you.  It will also mean that you will continue to have another plus factor in your assets and income.  Setting a termination date for that opportunity will prove wise, so that you do not become dependent on that income.  Sock as much of it away as possible.

Identifying a trusted financial counselor to walk you through the morass of issues involved in retirement is also a credible approach to making your decision.  You are likely to have been working with someone all along who has assisted you in having a relatively healthy portfolio.  However, if your retirement picture has been influenced by recent downturns, you need to be aware of precisely how that influences your ability to end your career and begin your life of retirement.

Beyond finances, there are a variety of other influences coming into play as you prepare to retire.  One is what will you do with your time.  Another is how will I feel about myself.  These are no small matters.  Spend some time with a competent counselor talking through the emotional and self confidence issues which come to many as they undergo a dramatically new phase of life.

Ferreting out all the dynamics of retirement will likely enable you to be at a place that you feel good about making the decision.  Overlooking both small and large matters can create speed bumps that may be more difficult to maneuver than you might have anticipated.  Slow down, look at all the considerations which may arise, talk with persons who are retired, get counsel and be sure you and your spouse or partner are on the same page.  Then proceed with a plan that allows for you to feel confident that you have made an intelligent and well thought through decision.



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  1. [...] to your own economic picture.  What you planned a few years back may no longer apply.  How much you can afford may depend on the dynamics that have happened and may happen [...]

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