Could Retirement Be Less Than Ideal?
What An Unprepared Retirement Life Looks Like
Ahh, retirement, the vision that keeps on giving.
We all have visions of retirement at some point during our working years. If that vision blurs our working years though it’s easy to take a detour. The way we get detoured is by creating our dream retirement vision for the wrong reasons and then retiring financially unprepared.
If your reasons for craving retirement is actually due to a bad job, an impossible boss, petty co-workers and terrible schedules, maybe you need to “regroup” instead of focusing so hard on retiring. Hitting retirement without the financial resources to support yourself for twenty to thirty years will make your retirement life less than ideal. So you can dream all you want about retiring and finally kicking back, doing your own thing, avoiding all time restraints or deadlines, but without the financial wherewithal, you may have a difficult time enjoying your new life.
The Wonders Of Time
The fact that many people are tired of working about half-way through their careers should not be a surprise. A full career takes a lot of hours. Have you ever calculated how many hours you will work during your career?
Well, most working career’s last about 40 years. During those forty working years most people work approximately 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, 5 days a week. If you calculate that out it equals about 87,000 hours of work. That is a heck of a lot of time spent working. It’s no wonder most people daydream about retirement so often; after 87,000 hours of working retirement cannot come fast enough. But, but, but…there is a positive side to 87,000 hours of work; think of all the time you get to earn money for investing.
Have you ever asked yourself why you cut back and economize on “extras” during your working years? Why you slave away at a job that you dislike for thirty or forty years? Why you put up with an unreasonable boss? Why you work a schedule that is impractical? Do you endure all of those tedious situations just because your employer provides a 5% retirement plan match? Well partially (a 5% retirement plan match nowadays is a nice perk and it doesn’t hurt your long-term retirement goal either; so be sure to take full advantage of that financial opportunity every change you get). But seriously, aren’t you really working hard from your 20’s through your 60’s to make and save as much money as possible so that when you are ready to retire, you can do it on your own terms?
Your Vision When You’re Broke
Yes when you get to retire you should be able to live a carefree, relaxing lifestyle; but if you retire without enough money, how can you do that? How can you enjoy yourself if always worried about your finances? Time does tick away very slowly if you dislike your job, boss and co-workers; but time will move much, much more slowly if you retire broke. No one cares about your retirement as much as you do so you need to own it.
Retiring is a big step. Practice makes perfect. And it’s usually our spending habits that need practice. If you practice retirement living before you retire, you may have a better chance at setting up your ideal retirement. While working, live as if you are already retired, financially speaking. Start by monitoring your spending habits. Live on a budget. Follow your money, where is it going? Unless you work part-time, once you retire you will be forced to live on less due to the elimination or reduction of income. So why not try living on less before you are forced to. Then you have time to adjust any spending habits that may be excessive.
Who Needs A Plan? You do
Not only do you need enough money to support yourself through the second half of your life but you also need to plan your time.
If you are not a planner, you might just want to become one before you retire. You will have so much time on your hands once you are retired. If you do not have a plan on what to do with all of that time, you will simply go crazy after a while. Think about it, you will have to fill up twenty-four hour days, 365 times. And relaxing will eventually get old and boring at which point, you may wish you had a job.
And by the way, relaxing, sleeping in, playing golf and shopping non-stop is not a plan. You need a real plan. Before you retire you need to decide what you want to do for the next twenty to thirty years. You can start by asking yourself the tough questions. What passions have you put off? What family members or friends do you need to catch up with? Maybe you want to go back to school to start a 2nd career? Maybe you want to take up a craft or learn how to sew or paint. Map it out, plan it, make it happen.
The Grass Is Not Greener
We have all experienced the “grass is greener” quandary in one way or another throughout our lives. And most of the time we find out that the grass is not greener. Before retiring make sure your retirement anticipation does not sway you. It is easy to convince yourself that after a hard day at work life would be so much easier once you retire. Finding a way to chill out after a hard work day might be a better move than rushing into retirement.
Be sure to make your retirement, your retirement. Advertisers love to sell the sizzle; they have to so that everything appears more exciting. So you have hotels, airlines, resorts and golf courses for example exaggerating the joy of retirement living. And here you are soaking it all in. It’s easy to try and recreate the retirement lifestyles flaunted by these travel ads or golf magazines. For some reason their vision of retirement just happens to be yours. But is it really? You are in charge, you decide.