What you need to know:
- Can your finances support your desired lifestyle?
- Do you have a healthcare plan?
- What will you do with the extra free time?
- Where will you go after retirement?
Young professionals are always advised to start making retirement plans early in their career. Most don’t, thinking that they have lots of time to do so.
The arrogance or ignorance is replaced with panic as they hit late 40s and 50s, wondering if they are ready for retirement.
For most people approaching retirement, the concern is usually about finances. Are the savings and investments enough to sustain you without being a bother to your children and kin? Can you take care of your rising medical bills?
Alternatively, you may feel overconfident, having put your finances in order, only to realise you didn’t plan for other important aspects of retirement. Lots of free time, diminished social life, where to stay during retirement etc.
If you are unsure whether you are ready for retirement, try answering the following questions.
Can your finances support your desired lifestyle?
As cliché as it may sound, money is a top priority when planning for retirement. It is also the main concern for most people that are approaching retirement age. Can the savings and investments support the post-retirement lifestyle they envision?
When assessing your finances, first analyse the lifestyle you want to plan to live after retirement, including the luxuries luxury. This will guide you on the minimal amount you should have in savings or income from investments. Remember, without your job, you will probably be making lots of withdrawing and very few deposits, especially if your investments are not too strong.
Another pertinent question is: what length of time do you plan for? Modern medicine has made it possible to live till their 80s and 90s in good shape. Plan your finances as though you will love past 100.
Do you have a healthcare plan?
This is closely related to finances. Seniors are quite susceptible to many long-term illnesses. Cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, tend to be detected in people in their 50s and 60s. Even with health insurance, treatment of such diseases can be quite expensive. The costs of healthcare will therefore be a significant feature in your expenses.
Anticipate, and plan how you will pay for your medical expenses as you get into retirement. Shop around for an insurance plan that caters for seniors. At the same time, create a medical-emergency fund that will pay for caregivers and medical operations, medications, and treatments that are not covered by insurance.
What will you do with the extra free time?
This is a real concern for people in retirement. Having worked from 8am to 5pm everyday for the past 30-40 years, finding yourself with extra free time can be quite confusing and even stressful.
It can even affect your mental health because you will probably be isolated with your children having moved out either to work or college.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to fill up the free time. One of the tactics is to leave work gradually. Most people are still active and productive when they retire. Organise with your employer to allow you to work half days, or on selected days of the week. Of course, this will include reduced workload.
You can also pick up on hobbies you had quit since work took all your time. For example, swimming, travelling, working out, reading and painting will keep you occupied but also fit mentally and physically. It doesn’t have to be an old hobby, try new ones too.
Alternatively, register for a new course and learn a new skill. Explore new fields such as technology and arts whose material is shared online either free or at a small fee.
Where will you go after retirement?
Your choice of retirement place will affect other retirement plans. The most common practice is to move to your rural home after retirement. But your rural area may lack the resources that you need to explore your hobbies, track your investments, or even get the healthcare that you require.
The rural area is also not always rosy. Many areas are infested with petty and serious crimes, long-term conflicts between families and so on. Such an environment is not suitable for the peaceful retirement you seek. Take your time and carefully choose a location that suits your plans and desires.
It’s all about you, finally
If you have clear answers to these questions, you’re probably ready for retirement; but it’s not a rigid plan, improve it as you may need to.
As you assess your retirement plans and tick the boxes, center yourself. A lot of what you do in your adult life is not about you. It’s about your family, your boss, the company, and fulfilling responsibilities. After all those decades, you’re now quite free to explore things that fulfill your desires.
Set clear goals of what you really want and, where necessary, ask for professional guidance.