Don’t underestimate the importance of retirement planning. In general, we are living longer, healthier lives – which overall, is a great thing. But you’ll still need a retirement ‘plan’ that considers the retirement lifestyle that’s best for you as you approach the ‘golden years.’ To help, this article lays out some common scenarios.
CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn about retirement plans and retirement lifestyles so you can decide what’s the best option for you, including:
- What Is a Retirement Plan
- Your Health As a Factor
- Will You Be Lounging Around?
- Taking Care of Your Mental Health
- Final Thoughts on Retirement
What Is A Retirement ‘Plan’?
You don’t hear the term “retirement plan” much anymore. It’s somewhat of an old-fashioned term that may not really make sense — well, perhaps not to most of us.
Not in the way it used to, anyway.
A retirement plan includes the income goals and decisions you make (risk, actions) to reach those goals for your retirement.
Traditionally, you might picture going into retirement with a lot of money, sunbathing all day on some exotic beach, drinking pina coladas. Sound good to you? That’s still entirely possible.
As a general rule, you will need to save up about 80% of your pre-retirement income (per year of retirement) to maintain your current cost of living when you retire. Plan on living well into your 90s, based on today’s mortality rates, too.
Admittedly, that’s a big chunk of change.
And of course, there are still savings options and investment vehicles to fund this kind of retirement lifestyle, like:
- Roth IRAs
- Real Estate Investments
- Social Security
- and decreasingly, Pension Plans
Of course, you can always reduce the amount of money you will need if you plan to move to a more affordable city or country when you retire.
Related Article: The Best Countries for American Expats.
You can also choose from more than one type of retirement lifestyle.
For instance, another retirement lifestyle you might envision (and prefer) is to work as long as you can. After all, if you’re healthy and sharp, there’s no reason why you have to retire if you don’t want to.
And for some, retirement can sound boring, costly, and not as relaxing as you may think. If you have a busy mind, sitting down and reading or knitting all day amounts to torture. That makes not retiring a perfectly acceptable retirement lifestyle for you.
Make Sure to Cover Your Health Care
The hard reality is that the choice to retire or not may not be so simple for some.
Perhaps you have health problems and need constant financial support. You might have hoped to work until you can’t, but your health may be preventing that. Or, you might have hoped to retire by now, but you need the health insurance.
It’s a bit of a catch-22.
If you have health problems, paying for your care may mean that you live modestly or perhaps frugally, and the work you can do in comfort is limited—if available at all.
So, what are you to do?
If this sounds like your predicament, it might relieve you to know you may have long term care eligibility. Check with a professional law office to see if you and your loved ones might receive this type of long-term care. It gives you access to a physician, certain living arrangements, and specific prescriptions.
Once you find out whether your state offers this long-term care benefit, you’ll need to learn whether they are obligated to cover you. Especially if you have chronic pain or some other kind of condition that requires life-long care, this long-term care plan might just be what you need.
Because your retirement plan shouldn’t mean that you are forced to keep working while you’re in pain.
Consider Remote, Part-Time, or Consulting Work
Did you know that your retirement plan doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing choice when it comes to work?
If you’re in fairly decent health and can’t imagine yourself retiring from the office at 67 or 70 and then just lounging around, you don’t have to fully quit! Thanks to the modern culture of working from home, consider taking your profession from the office to your home office instead.
This can be a good happy medium.
Since technology allows it and given the cultural work-from-home (WFH) changes in the last year or so, you may not need to worry about physically going to work as you age.
Instead, you can offer your expertise from home, using conference call software such as Zoom, and cloud-based services that create workplace software solutions.
A few of the professions which are pegged to go remote in a big way are:
- Human Resources
- Language Teachers
- Design Professionals
- Financial Service Professionals
We are at the beginning of this big paradigm shift, so expect more jobs to go or remain remote.
As a seasoned worker, you are poised to negotiate remote work arrangements, part-time hours, or consulting at a premium rate rather than continuing the dreaded daily grind of the commute—or completely quitting.
In fact, it’s good business for everyone involved.
Plus, it means you won’t have to settle for a low-paying, menial job just to keep the benefits and money flowing. You can still work fewer hours, but you’ll be working smart.
Another compromise might be to run a small side business that will keep some cash flowing in but still gives you plenty of time off.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Mental health is so important, especially as we age. And as it turns out for most us, working is great for mental health.
That’s because when you don’t have a structured day with a routine, where you are challenged in retirement, it’s easy to get depressed. Working can counteract the blues.
What’s better for your mind is to:
- Feel needed
- Apply your skills
- Enjoy being part of a team
Even if you do retire physically intact, it’s equally important to remain emotionally and cognitively fulfilled.
That might mean continuing to work in some capacity, getting involved in your community, doing volunteer work, or finding purpose in your life some other way.
However, you decide to spend your time as part of your retirement plan, be proactive about maintaining your mental health and a positive outlook.
Final Thoughts on Retirement Plan
Sooner or later, we’ll all need retirement plans. It’s something to look forward to after each life stage, from raising children to empty-nesting and beyond.
Just make sure you have a plan to take care of your health without excessive financial strain. And don’t be afraid to question when and whether you want to retire, not whether you need to.
Continue Reading: If you envision more travel in your future, click here to see 7 Options for Planning Your Travels from the Empty-Nest and Beyond.
Photo credit: Couple – Susanne Pälmer (Pixabay), Floating – Canva Pro
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