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How to Know If You’re Really Ready

By
Jeff Motske, CFP®
October 15, 2018
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Often, my clients ask me, “How will I know if I’m ready to retire?” It sounds like a simple question, but the answer is anything but. There are so many factors to consider, questions to answer, scenarios to prepare for, that it can all seem very overwhelming. To make things manageable, though, let’s start off with a dream.

We know that retirement can be expensive. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, participants would need 130% of their salary in retirement to live their ideal retirement life.1 You see, most of us spend money during our free time, and as one of my advisors says, retirement is basically six Saturday’s and a Sunday. If your retirement is filled with lazy days reading in your backyard, your expenses will probably be limited. However, if you plan on traveling, tackling home improvement projects or long-ignored hobbies, all of these come with additional expenses. Additionally, things you may have been able to earn in relation to your job, such as airfare and hotel points for frequent travelers, are no longer as easily accessible once you turn off your wage-earner card.

Therefore, the first step on your checklist is to visualize your retirement. If you’re not sure where to start, simply look at what you do in your current free time and determine if that’s something you would like to do more of when you retire. Not only does this help in your financial planning, but it helps you determine what you want the next chapter of your life to be. It is unfortunately common for retirees to experience depression related to a lack of purpose or identity when they enter retirement with an undeveloped vision of their next chapter. Therefore, the more details you can determine, the better the planning process will go.

For people who are married, things become a bit more multi-faceted to plan. You’re not only figuring out how to occupy your free time, but your spouse is also doing the same, and the two of you need to figure out how you plan to spend your shared time together. Without this planned out, you end up with a lot of togetherness, which can be quite an adjustment to most couples. Not only can differences in your retirement vision impact your relationship, but it can also impact your finances. Take advantage of monthly financial date nights well before retirement begins and solidify your retirement vision.

Perhaps you’ve finalized that retirement vision and discovered you won’t have a lot of expenses. You will most likely have those expenses for a long time though. People live much longer now, on average into their mid-eighties.2 It would be great to assume that those years will be spent in good health, but the likelihood is that your medical expenses will go up. According to the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, the average couple will need about $280,000 for medical expenses in retirement.3 Even if you stay away from long-term care needs or expensive treatments, annual premiums and out of pocket costs like doctor visits and medications typically cost about $5,000 annually.4 There may be certain elements you may not be able to foresee, but you should still try to plan for as much as possible.

Once you’ve determined what your vision for retirement is, you need to determine how much you’ll need to live that lifestyle. You need to be sure that the income you’ll be receiving will fund that vision. Just to be sure, once that number is determined, try living on that budget for about six months. If you find out that you’re struggling, some adjustments will need to be made, whether that’s working longer or altering the retirement vision. Practicing your retirement lifestyle isn’t merely relegated to your budget. If you typically work 50 to 60 hours a week, start cutting back. Maybe take on fewer projects. Prepare as much as you can for this life adjustment. You’ve worked really hard to get to retirement. Be sure to put in the extra work to make it the retirement of your dreams. Retirement is a massive decision. I urge you not to take it lightly. There is a reason that the five years before and after retirement are considered dangerous. Certain things like pensions, pay-outs and in some cases, social security can’t be undone. The best way to make an informed decision on what’s best for you is to meet with an Advisor who can run the scenarios for you. If you choose to push retirement off, your investments can continue to grow. In the end, you will be putting the proper steps in place to make your retirement dream a reality.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

  1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-much-money-will-you-really-spend-in-retirement-probably-a-lot-more-than-you-think-1536026820
  2. https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/plan-for-rising-health-care-costs

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By
June Adams
December 20, 2021

TSA PreCheck Scams

 

TSA PreCheck is garnering a lot of interest, from both travelers and scammers alike. In addition to pocketing your renewal/application fee, these scammers take your personal information to sell on the dark web or create false identities that can be used illegally. TSA PreCheck scam emails are quite sophisticated, lacking many of the typical red flags such as misspellings, grammatical errors, and slightly-off-looking versions of TSA logos. We recommend that you continue to check the email address and web address of the sender, as well as how they’re asking for payment.

Always verify that the TSA PreCheck web and email address ends in ‘.gov’ – not ‘.com’, ‘.org’ or anything else. If they don’t, these are not official TSA PreCheck communications and you should not provide personal information or payment information. Additionally, don’t purchase or renew a TSA PreCheck membership by clicking on a link you were sent via an email. Instead, go directly to the TSA or Homeland Security website.

The other major red flag comes when it’s time to pay for your renewal or application fees. While there are multiple ways to make a payment for government services, scammers typically only give you the option of using PayPal. If you get an email and suspect it’s a scam, or end up clicking on a bad link yourself, TSA says to do the following:

  1. Report the fraud to your local Police Department.
  2. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission website.
  3. Contact your credit card company or bank and let them know about any fraudulent charges.

In the event that your credit card information ended up in the wrong hands, you will need to work through your bank or credit card company. TSA specifically states on its website that it “will not issue a reimbursement to applicants who attempt to enroll in TSA pre-check through a fraudulent website.”

By
Jeff Motske, CFP®
January 7, 2019

When we look outwards, most of our world can seem like chaos. Political events impact the market. Technological changes create new employment opportunities and put others to rest. Illness and misfortune affect those we love. It is easy to fall under a sense of helplessness in these moments. The key to weathering these storms is to focus on the elements you can control to make for a better financial future.

The first step is to create a solid plan. Many hope for a good outcome, but hope is not a strategy for a sound future, financial or otherwise. Your plan should reflect personal and financial goals. If you have created a personal mission statement, the goals in your plan should be inspired by that. The key aspect to a plan is that it identifies possible issues and gives you concrete steps to take to weather any storms.

Part of your plan should always include paying yourself first. There are going to be numerous obligations and goals to funnel your finances towards. Be sure that saving for your financial independence is one of them because there aren’t any do-overs when it comes to retirement savings. Just as important as saving is how you save. Make sure to fill your three buckets for more financial flexibility when you retire. The more options you have, the more control you have over your financial future.

After all that work, make sure to protect your plan. Life insurance will cover your debt and obligations, should you pass. Other forms of insurance can also provide during retirement or should you become disabled. Preparing for unfortunate or far-off events is a difficult thing for many to do, but a little planning in this area can protect everything you’ve worked so hard for, for your loved ones and your legacy.

None of us can see the future or know what tomorrow will bring. With a little forethought and planning, though, you can make sure you’re prepared for whatever life throws your way. Be sure to focus on what you can control and those strategies will help you build a better financial future.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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