I have been retired for seven years now and I enjoy every minute of it. I retired when I was 53 years old but could have (and should have) retired at the age of 50. There has been a lot to learn in my retirement. I can describe my retirement in one word, options. There are unlimited options for me now that I didn’t have when I worked for the government. I can be or do anything I want now. Today I want to discuss the importance of retirement planning.
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Planning For Retirement
When I was working, I attended a pre-retirement seminar a couple of years before I retired. We were allowed to request attendance five years before our minimum retirement date. At the end of the seminar, I wrote on my evaluation that it was great information. The only problem was we needed the information sooner. It was too late for a lot of people to do what was needed for a comfortable retirement. Here are five things to do for a comfortable retirement.
- Begin Planning Early.
- Develop Specialized Knowledge and Skills.
- Find a Good Financial Planner.
- Begin Saving Early.
- Pay off Your Mortgage.
Begin Planning For Retirement Early
When I started my career I was 23 years old. Two things that I never thought were going to happen back then were: I would retire; I would get old. When you’re young you never think about getting old but it is inevitable. It happens to all of us. Importance of retirement planning is crucial. Starting your career is when you should start planning for your retirement. Begin thinking about what you want to do and how you want to live when that day finally comes.
Beginning your plan early will allow you to adjust to everything life throws your way. Sometimes life throws you the good things, marriage, children, etc. Other times the bad things death, injury, sickness, etc. Good things and bad will affect your retirement. By planning for the future early in your career you can minimize the impact.
Specialized Skills And Knowledge In Retirement
During my 30 year career, I developed certain skills and knowledge. After I retired I learned that most of my skills and knowledge didn’t transfer to my new life. If you have generalized skills and knowledge, you will learn that everyone is retired with the same skills. There’s a lot of competition. Finding your niche will help you stand out against the competition. I suggest that you research throughout your career skills that are needed in the private sector. Take courses and study those skills to gain the knowledge that you need.
A Financial Planner Is Important
Find a good financial planner. Unless you are an expert on finances you will need a financial planner. They can help you make the right decisions with your money. This will allow you to keep as much money as you can before retirement. It is a big change to go from knowing a check is coming every two weeks to a smaller check once a month. You will need to supplement your retirement with other sources of income if you want to maintain your current lifestyle.
Save Early And Often
Begin saving as early as you can. The earlier you begin the more money you will have in retirement. I always put money into my Thrift Savings Account, which is the government 401(k). If I had to do it over again I would maximize my contributions. In retirement, you can use your savings to supplement your retirement. I withdraw a certain amount every month. Because the stock market has done so well, my savings have increased.
Saving early is probably the most important thing you can do. I recommend setting a goal for the amount of money you want to save before retirement. For me, the best thing was having it withdrawn from my paycheck and placed into my account. Out of sight, out of mind. Since I never saw the money it was like it never existed. My savings account would grow every two weeks without me doing anything.
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Eliminate That Big Debt
Pay off your mortgage. My mortgage is my biggest expense as it is for most people. Since I transferred a lot during my career I was not able to pay off my last mortgage. I bought houses and sold houses; made and lost money. If I had stayed in one location, in the same house, I wouldn’t have to worry about a mortgage now. I think about what I could do in the places I could go if I didn’t have a mortgage. If at all possible, pay off your mortgage before you retire.
These are just five things I wish I had known before retirement. One can’t overstate the importance of retirement planning. I am not an expert on retirement or financial planning. I hope that you will begin thinking about retirement now that you are young and not wait until it’s too late. Do your research, make a plan, and find a financial planner to help you. Always remember to start saving early.