Is this a dream or can it be reality? Retirement will be a reality for most of us. It depends on when you would like to retire, what are your retirement dreams and what kind of life style you envision.
Are you dreaming about traveling the world and staying in the best hotels, or are you going to hitch hike north America and stay in hostels or the cheapest hotels or even stay in a tent? Most of us probably have dreams somewhere in the middle, although some may be content with staying close to home and enjoying the peace and quiet of a slower pace.
Whatever your dreams are retirement is inevitable for most of us, although some of us may literally die on the job, a comforting thought, yuck.
The reality is at some point working will not be possible, it may be a mental limitation caused by stress or a physical problem that happens instantly from an accident or produced over time by an illness, or affliction of some kind. Of course this conclusion will be different for each of us.
So whether we like it or not our working years are finite. So the question is not if you are going to retire, the question is when, and under what circumstances. Is it going to be on your schedule or a Divine intervention. …………Now what?
Planning is Key.
To quote our investment advisor, Bert, “most people don’t plan to fail they just fail to plan“. A very true statement. We all procrastinate, and many of us wait too long until it is almost impossible to build a large enough nest egg to enjoy our retirement.
In order to have an enjoyable retirement whether it is sitting on the couch watching TV or traveling the world, you need to plan, and maybe even make some sacrifices to accomplish your goal.
How to Start
This means dedicating a portion of your income to a retirement fund of some sort. I believe you need the guidance of a financial advisor that you are comfortable with. Do some research yourself and talk to your friends. There is nothing wrong with conducting interviews to pick one that suits you and your situation, and keep your eyes and mind open.
Financial advisors are a dime a dozen and like any profession there are good and bad. If you are hearing returns that seem to be too good to be true, they probably are. Talk about your risk tolerant level, usually higher returns can also mean higher losses, most good advisors will tell you correctly that investing is a long term process. Do not use knee jerk reactions because the market drops. It has always rebounded although it may take years. Usually the younger you are the more risk you can handle because you have more time to recover from a set back. When I say high risk I am describing investments that are more volatile than say a bank GIC (guaranteed investment certificate) that does what it says, guarantees a certain rate of return. While a high risk equity fund such as the oil market that can make huge gains, or equally huge losses. However it is good to note that once an investment starts to drop they always seem to drop faster and farther than when they were rising.
In the end it is a fact that no one can predict what the markets will do. Believe or not it is a fact that people that try to time the market actually do the opposite of what their plan is supposed to be. They sell low and buy high,….. go figure.
So if you think you have picked a good financial advisor, trust his judgment, he will most likely be right more often than you. I am not a financial advisor, but Lynda and I have been investing our savings for 20+ years. We have learn a great deal over that time.
Lynda and I have been retired for several years now. Six for me and about ten for Lynda, although she did work part time at her regular job for a few years and then part time for my business.
We started our retirement fund in 1991 with small monthly contributions. It didn’t take long with the help of Bert (our financial advisor) for us to realize that we needed to increase our contributions.
I am not saying that everything we did was right but we followed his advice and our nest egg grew exponentially until we totally retired in 2007.
We also had the benefit of a small inheritance from Lynda’s mother and we were able to sell our house in the city and move to our lake cottage in the country.
Moving to the lake was a major decision because it put us about 4 hrs. away from family, friends and grandchildren. Moving even this distance has changed our lives, most of our friendships have faded although we have made new ones.
We obviously visit our children and grandchildren as much as time and the budget permits, although everyone is very busy and it seems we need to announce our visit well in advance, in order to see most of the family.
The decision was to try living at the lake for a year and then revisit our decision. We still live there.
Retirement is a big decision and a huge change in life. It needs to be looked at as another stage of life, just like starting school, starting college, entering the work force, becoming a parent etc. Although most of us seem to have an adjustment period, it is probably a little easier for women then men.
I may be entirely wrong but I believe that a woman’s routine change is not as drastic as a man’s. I know I am going to get flack for this but a woman’s work is never done, cooking, cleaning, etc.
While I think men suffer more with the drastic change in routine. When I was researching retirement, I read an article that stated a man who works until sixty-five has a life expectancy of just eighteen months on average…………… wow that was a very sobering statement, actually I think it would drive you to drink not sobriety.
I am no expert but having been through it I think it is because most men who work that long are married to their jobs and have very little interests outside of work. There is a large void that needs to be filled. If no effort is made quickly, depression will set in and that is terminal for the mind and body. If I am scaring you, I’m sorry, but these are the facts, baby.
Knowledge is Power
Everyone needs to look at retirement as not the end of life and we that are just waiting to die. It is definitely another stage of life, as I have finally concluded. Several friends of mine have had difficulties with retirement, especially one in particular who had to be prescribed drugs for depression.
Retirement may sound like the greatest of gifts, a permanent vacation, and it can be, but there is a definite life adjustment and if you are not ready it can become, let’s say less than the gift it should be.
I am fortunate that I’m a tradesman and good with my hands. I have renovated all the houses we have owned over the years and I continue to work to earn an income, albeit nothing like before retirement.
The money was definitely nice but more importantly the feeling of self worth and accomplishment for my mental health. As well as construction, after taking a course on small engine repair I am able to fill my days and make some money at that also.
A neighbor and I also sell firewood in our neighborhood, although the money is poor and the work is hard, it gives us a purpose for the day.
You are going to retire whether you like it or not, so start planning. Be realistic, are you going to be able to save enough money by your projected retirement date? How much will you need? Also keep in mind that retirement is not the only goal, you still need to enjoy your life. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. God forbid, what if you don’t make it to retirement, although your children and grandchildren would be happy to enjoy the basket.
The Cost of Retirement
How much money will I need? The cost of retirement is directly related to your life style and your plans. My opinion is you should plan for the same living cost that you are incurring before retirement. Although your living expenses will probably be less during the first years of retirement, you will spend more on your life style adjustment. I have determined from our experiences, as well as friends, in fact after 7 years we are just now able to cut back.
Will you receive a pension or pensions from your job or government? How secure is your pension? I know of several situations where a company pension had been reduced, and some by as much as 50%.
Will you need to down size your house or will you need to sell your house and rent and live off the proceeds? Do you even need to own a house?
We have old friends who have been married for 50 years and from what they have indicated they did not save a dime toward retirement. Restaurants, movies and concerts is where they spent their retirement money.
They owned an apartment that was quickly sold after they stopped working. A mobile home 30 plus miles farther away from their family, was their next experiment. It didn’t work so they sold and rented an apartment back where they started.
They are probably two of the happiest people I know, just to show it is not your possession that makes happiness, but I would rather be rich and unhappy than poor and unhappy.
There are many different possibilities, the only limit is your imagination.
Will you need to share your house with your children or other family? I know of parents who have sold the family home to their children and moved into the basement.
Maybe you want to travel and rent out your home for a few years. The sky is the limit.
Working after Retirement
I know that this sounds strange, after all you have worked and saved so you can retire, why work? Other than the obvious “income,” working after retirement can fulfill several important necessities. As I have stated previously mental health is probably the most important, especially during the first adjustment years. It takes about 2 years to adjust to retirement living, depending on the individual.
Working part time can also allow you to retire sooner. Working at something you enjoy is very rewarding, especially a hobby.
How to RV Travel & Work
Working while traveling is an option for some Rvers, especially full timers. Hosting or managing an RV park or a government run state park seems to be a popular way to make some cash to offset expenses. Several websites are listed on the internet just key in “work camping.”
Although this may help with expenses be cautious while working in a foreign country. For example the USA does not permit foreign workers without a green card. You can be expelled and not permitted to return. Even volunteering is frowned upon.
I hope this article is interesting and helps in your retirement planning.
Retirement can be truly a fantastic adventure to be embraced.
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