Despite the fact that life expectancy has increased in the last several decades, many people are not planning for what they want to do during the second half of their lives. Often, this is because we’re simply to busy to look that far ahead in the future but the truth is, retirement will be here before you know it and without a plan, it might not be as “golden” as you’d like.
One of the most important aspects of planning for the second phase of your life is to ensure you have enough to live on after you retire. The secret to pursuing your dreams in your golden years is to be financially stable – then any money you might make after retirement is “extra”, meaning your financial stability doesn’t depend on after-retirement dollars.
If you are middle aged and have been planning for retirement for several years you are probably in good shape financially. If you haven’t been seriously planning now is the time to start doing so. Do whatever you can to increase your retirement savings, and invest as much as possible in this next phase of your life. Don’t look at it as planning for the end of life, instead look at it as planning for your next life, a life free of financial worry.
The steps that are necessary to reach this next phase of life when all your dreams become a real possibility include,
- Investing and saving as much money as possible, even if this means cutting living expenses now. Save for your children’s college while they are young, and don’t pull money out of your retirement to pay for their education.
- Plan for health insurance after you retire; there is nothing worse than working and saving for years, just to have your saving eaten up with medical bills.
- Decide what you want to do after retirement and the lifestyle you want so that you know what your goal is. For example, if you plan to travel a great deal you probably won’t need to keep your large family home so you can downsize prior to retirement.
- See an attorney and create an estate plan that will protect you and your loved ones in the future. A solid estate plan is important on many levels; not only will it help to protect your assets now and help to reduce tax liability, it can protect your beneficiaries from a lengthy probate if something were to happen to you.
- Define what your dreams are for the future and start working toward that goal. If you want to open your own business after retirement, decide what type of business and start looking into ways to do that now.
Remember, retirement isn’t the end of life, it is just the beginning of living the life you have always dreamed about. But how that dream turns out will depend upon the strategies you employ now.