Seniors: Three Questions Before Retiring

Feb 28th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Edging toward retirement prompts a variety of questions and investigations before taking the proverbial leap. It is no small undertaking, certainly now that questions about raising the retirement age, trimming social security benefits, high inflation and low interest returns are being proffered.

So what is it that needs to be examined by the person who is approaching 60 or above and is thinking about the benefits of retirement.

Primary to any resolution to retire is to determine “What Will I Do?” This is the question which drives all the other questions. The answer to this question will also influence the shape of lifestyle considerations, cost of iving issues, satisfaction with your choice to move to retirement.

You and your partner (if you have one) will need to wrestle with this question and conclude what will work for each of you independently and collectively. Until this matter is given its due, no other issues, no matter their seeming importance, will be necessary. If one’s perception of retirement is an arm chair existence, the early stirrings of war will be evident.

Of course, there are sub headings to this question, but taken generically this is the top most of the issues to be talked through carefully.

The second consideration is, of course, elemental and the thread that sews all other issues together: “Can We Afford to Retire?” Reviewing all the financial implications of retirement will be required here. No unrealistic maybes will work. The individual or couple who is anticipating retirement must have every penny on the table. Calculating infow and outflow will also imply disciplines for spending and saving, even in retirement. It won’t be the same. Life style expectations may need to be tailored.

Undertaking this matter will also require the benefit of professional counsel, a financial adviser, who is working in your best interest, not his or hers. Perhaps you will want first to visit with your tax accountant who has a grasp on your own financial picture and the tax issues that may influence your decision.

While this consideration will take time and patience, overlooking it or giving it short shrift, will work to your disadvantage sooner rather than later. Set yourself up for as few surprises as possible.

Finally, the third choice can be given its due. Focusing on the question of “Where Will We Live” can now be explored. Both of the previous considerations heavily influence this one. Matters of lifestyle, again come into view, as well as cost of living estimates in differing environments. Many choose to live in the southwest, California and Arizona are good examples. However, being apprised of the cost of living in those areas may require a look-see of the actual demands on resources and ability to pay.

Some choose the familiar, i.e staying in the same location. There are advantages to this which preclude having to make other decisions, e.g. moving and costs related to it, real estate costs and the ability, in the current market to sell your home, having to identify professionals to care for you and your needs.

A realistic examination of these three, and other implied considerations, will open the windows and doors to others. Without taking this journey in reaching your conclusions, it will likely prove futile to raise the initial inquiry: “Should We Retire.”



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