Setting goals can help you determine the best way to use your time and resources when you retire. Without a goal in mind, you might start feeling adrift after several months of no schedule or sense of routine. Setting objectives you hope to achieve can help you stay on track with your retirement planning. You’ll have something to look forward to, and be ready to enjoy new opportunities in retirement.
Some common retirement goals include:
Many individuals and couples feel at ease if they know how much they will need every month in retirement. “Having a future vision helps drive our behavior to support our current goals,” says Kurt Heineman, a financial planner at Vision Casting Financial Planning in Spokane, Washington. A starting point involves considering what you want to do and when you want to retire. You can then talk to an advisor to see how much you need to have set aside. “Adding numeric values to the goals makes them concrete and achievable,” Heineman says. If some of your first options for lifestyle don’t fit into your retirement budget, you can rework factors to reduce costs and live within your means.
Arrangements are often made for a gathering to kick off retirement. Some individuals take the concept further and map out an experience to mark the passage from working to retirement. “A common goal pre-retirees state they would like to have in place for retirement is a luxurious trip taken the year of or the year after retirement,” says Jim Eutsler, a partner and wealth advisor at HCM Wealth Advisors in Cincinnati, Ohio. “The benefit is primarily non-tangible in that it gives the individual something to continually look forward to.”
A luxurious and freedom-filled event could mean different things for different people. Some people might look forward to a three-month stay in Europe. Others could rent an RV for a month and travel within their state. Retirees might opt to drive cross-country and travel at their own pace. Regardless of the choice, the financial factors will need to be weighed and accounted for beforehand.
Getting to set your own hours and diet provides the chance to zero in on fitness. “Our goal is to live as well as possible for as long as possible, so we focus on maximizing our health,” says Edd Staton, co-author of “Retirement Reimagined.” He and his wife Cynthia eat a balanced, nutritious diet, exercise for an hour each day and get around nine hours of sleep each night. They also actively seek ways to avoid stress. “The immediate benefits include no prescription drugs and feeling terrific most days,” Staton says. “Long-term we are striving to avoid spending the hundreds of thousands of dollars it is projected Americans will need for health care in old age.”
Whether it’s RV travel, gardening clubs, art classes or learning a new language, workers frequently dream of doing something different in retirement. The anticipation can serve as a motivation to save each month. It can also help retirees stay positive and feel engaged. To avoid committing to a large purchase or tight schedule that you may later want to change, try out activities you are contemplating before stepping away from the workplace. For example, you might take on volunteer work at a senior center, and find that while you enjoy helping, you would prefer to be in an environment with children, such as a charity dedicated to supporting families.
For many people, the idea of paying off a mortgage by retirement is appealing. Some up-and-coming retirees downsize to a smaller home that needs less maintenance. However, other retirees purchase a second place in a desirable location. “This may involve having a home in a northern and southern climate so they can travel back and forth as they please,” Eutsler says. It could also be the purchase of a vacation home, such as a cabin on a lake, that is rented out during the times they are not there. “The goal is often to get themselves in a place, physically and mentally, where they feel the most comfortable and able to enjoy the post-working years,” Eutsler says.
If you have family members including children and grandchildren, you may be interested in passing on a portion of your savings to the next generations. Some retirees are passionate about certain causes and want to leave an amount to a charity. “How you’re remembered by loved ones and your impact on the world becomes important later in life,” says Noah Schwab, a financial planner at Stewardship Concepts Financial Services in Spokane, Washington. To set up a legacy, you can consult your financial advisor to discuss estate planning. “Utilizing strategies like a donor-advised fund can allow retirees to save on taxes and fulfill their charitable goals simultaneously,” Schwab says.
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