Although many of us may be far from retirement, we need to start asking ourselves these 5 questions before we retire. Bob Lowry from Satisfying Retirement, kindly agreed to share his expertise on this subject. You may recall his previous post on my blog entitled: “4 Important Keys to Prepare for a Happy Marriage After Retirement.”
There is nothing simple about retirement. Everyone has a different path and a unique set of circumstances to face. But, there are some basic decisions that must be made. If you can answer these questions you are well on your way to a successful retirement.
1). When do I want to stop working? A goal without a timetable is simply a wish list. You don’t need to pick the exact day at some point in the future. But, you do need to commit to something: late spring of 2013 is fine. Now you can visualize the finish line and do what must be done to get ready.
2). Is my financial house in order? If nothing else the last few years have made many of the “rules” obsolete. Even the wisdom of owning your own home is up for review. Take a fresh look at all parts of your financial plan. Is the 6% annual rate of growth you were counting on realistic anymore? Is there a chance Social Security payments will be means-tested in the future? Once you retire, it is a little late to ask these questions.
3). How are my health and health coverage? Both will have an important impact on your life. Do you have health challenges now that might limit you in some significant way? Does your spouse have a disease that is chronic? How about your insurance? Do you keep full coverage after you stop working? Can you afford Medicare Part D or supplemental coverage? If you need to buy a new policy will anyone sell you one at a rate you can afford? I believe the costs and direction of our health care system will have a bigger impact on retirees than anything else on the horizon.
4). Where do I want to live? This is a biggie. I strongly urge you to not make a move soon after you retire. There is too much upheaval in your life as it is. A move away from friends, family, and the familiarity of the area should not be undertaken lightly. You may be sick of winter and snow. Your grown children and grandchildren may live quite a distance from you. Throwing away your winter coat sounds heavenly. Being closer to the kids would be wonderful. You may be absolutely right. But, being far from everything that gives you roots has its own costs. Don’t rush this decision. It will have a major impact on your happiness and health.
5). What will I do to stay busy and motivated? It is the rare person who can answer this question with much assuredness before retiring. You will have ideas and wishes. But, until actually living the life you won’t really know what might unfold. My suggestion is to make plans. Get excited about doing the things you have not done during your working years. Then, remain flexible. Be prepared to make corrections in your direction. Be OK with deciding one thing you thought you’d love isn’t the answer, but something new you just discovered might be.
From Building Your Satisfying Retirement-How To Make The Most of This New Phase of Your Life
You can download Bob’s free e-book, on Satisfying Retirement.
I find Bob’s questions 4 and 5 easier to answer, what about you?
(I could see myself living 3-4 months out of the year with a view like this. A pier on Ambergris Caye, Belize. A great place to inspire writers.)
Please leave your comments below for Bob to answer.