Retirement 101: How To Be Fully Prepared For Life In Retirement

Congratulations! You are nearing retirement. This is an exciting time, but also one that can be filled with questions, worry and anxiety. Planning for your eventual life in retirement doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking, though. It should be done methodically so that you retire at the correct time for your situation. If you are nearing retirement age, or if you are just getting started with your planning, following certain steps and the advice of experts will ensure that you have the financial stability to maintain your lifestyle and provide for you and your family’s health and wellness.


Set Up Retirement Goals

Retirement is not a period of languishing away. It can be a very productive and enriching time in your life. In fact, it is one of the few times where you are free from the hassle of a work schedule, financially able to pursue interests and independent enough to decide what you want to do. Now is the time to think about what you want to do in retirement. You don’t have to get into specifics unless it will seriously impact your budget. Instead, think about general ideas. For example, if you want to travel, are you looking at buying a vacation home or investing in an RV? The answers may affect other decisions you make in the planning process.

Consider Senior Housing Options

Not many people want to talk about senior housing, but it is an important consideration. Even if you want to stay independent, you may need to look at options that are more senior-friendly than your current place. Features like single-level floor plans, outlet placement and accessible kitchens and bathrooms can allow you to achieve greater independence. Retirement communities that offer a mix of single-family homes, townhouses and apartments along with social activities can be a nice way to stay engaged and active in a safe environment.

Not everyone will be able to stay in their own home, however. You should make plans in case you need to move to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Talk to your family about your choices and what you do and don’t want. Consult with a retirement home attorney to determine your rights and what level of care each type of facility is responsible for providing.

Develop a Realistic Budget

In order to plan and save, you will need to have a realistic budget for retirement. This should be a comprehensive list of needs and wants. If you are planning early enough, be sure to include a few of your pie in the sky dreams. Things on your goal list absolutely must be included in your budget. Otherwise, day to day expenses can eat away at your savings and you may not get to achieve your goals. Although definitely not all-inclusive, these suggestions will get you started on creating a well thought out budget:

  • All of your fixed expenses like housing, insurance and vehicle payments
  • Variable expenses like entertainment, gas and food
  • Costs for things you want to do (think travel or that vacation home)
  • Expenses for college or extras for grandchildren if you want to help out
  • Charitable donations you want to make

Examine Your Interests

You will also want to consider the psychological implications of entering this new life phase. Retirement isn’t just about switching from the workforce to a quiet life on a fixed income. Many people feel a loss of purpose when their careers come to an end. Others miss the structure and routine of their previous work schedule. There are ways to combat that, though. One of them is to start exploring your interests and investing in them. Many colleges and universities allow seniors to audit classes for free if you find something you want to explore at a deeper level. Volunteering in your community is another great way to pursue an interest and use a skill, and you will benefit others in the process.

Retirement brings many changes to your life. Setting goals for your retirement, developing a realistic budget and planning for housing will make those changes easier to handle.

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Kevin Gardner

Kevin Gardner loves writing about technology and the impact it has on our lives, especially within businesses.