Not that long ago, people looked forward to retirement as a time of relaxation and leisure when one might travel the world or take up a new hobby. Increasingly, however, people preparing to retire are doing the math and realizing that the future doesn’t look so bright financially. The following 10 guidelines will help you enjoy a more comfortable retirement even in an uncertain economy.
1. Have a Plan But Stay Flexible
Retiring successfully takes planning. Take an honest inventory of your assets, savings, investments, and set some goals for your retirement. Consider what you’d like to be doing, where you’d like to live, who you want to be near, and what kind of lifestyle you prefer.
While you need a plan you also need to be flexible and open to unexpected changes. Keep yourself informed about the latest developments in areas such as the cost of living, tax laws, investments, real estate trends, and other areas that are likely to have an impact on your life.
2. Watch Your Spending
Overspending is a common mistake for many retirees. The paradox about not working is that you have less money coming in but more time to spend your money. It’s natural to want to fill up all your free time with eating out, shopping, traveling, and other leisurely pursuits. It’s important to set a budget and stick to it. You don’t have to cut out all entertainment and treats. However, make sure you don’t spend beyond your means.
3. Find New Sources of Income
It’s an unfortunate fact that people in the United States and many other countries are postponing retirement because they can’t afford to stop working. Some employees, meanwhile, are forced into retirement. There are, however, alternatives besides working full-time and complete retirement. Here are a few possibilities.
4. Get Out of Debt
Reducing or eliminating debt is one of the best ways to improve your financial situation. Debts are especially draining after you retire. Do whatever you can to cut down on what you owe, especially high-interest debts such as credit cards.
Paying off debt provides two main benefits. On the one hand, it reduces the burden of making high payments when your income may be decreasing. Additionally, you have a chance to improve your credit score which is useful if you want to apply for a mortgage, business loan, or another type of loan in the future.
5. Don’t Touch Your Retirement Account Early
Withdrawing money from your retirement account early may be tempting but it’s seldom a financially wise decision. You also incur tax penalties if you take money out of an IRA or 401K before retirement age (currently 59.5). If you’re thinking about raiding your retirement
Our BALANCE Financial Guide is dedicated to helping you balance life’s important decisions.