When you’re at work, it’s easy to dismiss retirement as an abstract idea, something to think about when you’re old and gray. But what if you could retire early? And what if you could retire without having to worry about money for the rest of your life? Wouldn’t that change the way you think about retirement?
You’ve probably set a lot of goals for your life: you want to be happy, be wealthy, have a family, and so on. But what about retirement? Do you want to retire? And if so, do you have a plan? As a financial planner, one of the questions that I get asked most often is, how do I make sure I’m financially ready for retirement?
Here are 7 Questions to Ask Before Retirement
• What age will you retire?
Just because you’re reaching a certain age doesn’t mean you have to stop working. For many in the U.S., that means 65, and for others, it’s a custom of 60 and out. Still, for others, it’s far lower. In fact, depending on your financial situation, health, and goals, retiring at age 50 may be the best thing you ever do.
Retirement is an important milestone in life, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all endeavour. Everyone’s retirement journey is different: some people plan to work part-time during retirement, while others do not, while others plan to travel extensively, while others do not. Some people want to retire early, while others are content to keep working until they’re ready to stop. Another important factor in retirement planning is the age at which you plan to retire. For example, if you plan to retire at age 65, you might make different choices than someone who plans to retire at age 75.
• Do your spouse also retire at the same time?
When you retire from the workforce, you get the chance to spend more time with your spouse — but will they retire simultaneously? If you’ve been married for several years, you may already know the answer. But if you and your spouse have similar (or dissimilar) career paths, you may wonder how retirement might affect your relationship. Here are seven questions to consider before retirement.
• Do you have access to your workplace retirement plan?
While you’re still working, it’s not too late to start saving for retirement, but you’ll need to know how much to save and invest your money. The first thing you’ll need to do is evaluate your workplace retirement plan. You’ll want to be sure you’re getting the full employer match, as this usually gets you the most bang for your buck. You’ll also want to find out if your plan allows you to purchase company stock, which could put you at risk of losing a chunk of your savings if the company goes under. What’s more, employer-sponsored retirement plans are often not portable, so you’ll need to make sure you know how to get your money out should you leave your job.
• Where will you stay?
We all have dreams and plans for how we want our lives to turn out, including where we want to live when we’ve reached retirement age. If you have a firm answer to that question, good for you! But many people have no idea where they’ll end up when the time comes to settle down. It’s natural to think about where you’d like to live in retirement, but there are important questions to ask before making a final decision.
• Do you think you will work in retirement?
More and more, seniors answer yes to this question either by choice or out of necessity. But even if you start working again, how do you know what kind of job to look for? One option is to go back to your old career, but if you’re thinking about retiring in the first place, you may want to think about changing careers.
• What should you do about the insurance?
The day when you retire is always a cause for celebration, but it can also come with a lot of anxiety. When you do retire, the first thing you will want to think about is your health insurance. This is because you will no longer have employer-provided health insurance, and you will have to make sure you can afford a plan that fits your needs.
• Are you planning for travel or anything?
A common question for many young professionals is whether it is better to take a vacation or save the money for retirement. The short answer is that saving for retirement is always the best plan. Especially if you are under 35, your retirement savings can grow exponentially if you invest the savings in a retirement account with a high return. But there are other factors to consider before deciding to travel or save for retirement.