It is always so exciting to meet someone who really understands the value of having a plan for retirement. I met a woman recently who had only the best things to say about her personal plan for retirement.
Now, this is what I call making a plan for retirement
In fact, she was carrying a folder around with her that contained her detailed budget along with her Social Security statement. Plus, she included her pension plan information and a few other financial papers.
She said that carrying around the folder is a reminder every single day of where she is heading. It is her proof that she can feel confident and has a clear direction for her future. In fact, her plan for retirement is the reason she can put up with some of the shenanigans she deals with on the job!
Karen is an office manager at a large company, She spends long days supporting a small in-house legal team. Her days are jam-packed with changing priorities, crazy deadlines, and competing personalities. She also manages an administrative person and deals with internal and external clients on a daily basis. She’s been working for her employer for the past 18 years. Prior to that, she worked for years as a bookkeeper for various small companies.
Through all those years, she successfully raised two sons as a single mother and just became an empty nester. Her younger son is off at college. Thankfully, her 27-year-old “finally moved out and into his own apartment.”
Karen is a native San Franciscan, living in the same house her parents bought in the 1950s. She has strong emotional ties to this house. It’s where she was raised and where she raised her boys. She thinks it will be a perfect place to spend her retirement. A big bonus is that it’s near friends and family. She loves the comfortable life she has built for herself.
A plan for retirement includes how to spend you time
As we chatted, we got on the topic of what Karen wanted to do in retirement. Had she thought about how she wanted to spend her time? She livened right up at this. Karen is looking forward to slowing things down. She wants to have the chance to enjoy life before she gets too old.
Top of her list is some travel. Right after she retires, she hopes to do one exotic trip for a couple of weeks. Australia is high on her list right now. She’d also like to see if she can make it work financially to add a new bedroom and bathroom to her home. These changes would give her more room when the boys and their future families come for visits. But, they will be short visits!
You can see that she clearly adores her sons. While she spent all those years raising her sons as a single mother, it’s time to build their own homes and adult lives. Holidays and short visits are perfect. If she is blessed to have grandchildren someday, she will not be taking care of them. She’s going to be busy and has no interest in being a full-time babysitter. She wants her grandchildren to have a special relationship with her. But she doesn’t want to raise them.
Friends and hobbies will be an important part of retirement
Karen has started some gardening projects. In addition, she wants to knit and crochet and do some sewing when she has the time in retirement. She has friends all over the country. Importantly, she is planning many road trips and visits to stay connected.
She doesn’t have everything mapped out yet. And she doesn’t know all of the possibilities that might be there for her retirement years. But, she understands that she needs to create some kind of structure to all of that open time she is going to have. Some retirees she knows haven’t replaced the rigid routine of the work week with any kind of structure. She’s seen them become depressed, bored, and feeling like they have been “left out to pasture.” That is not what she will be using her retirement for!
As she poured herself another glass of wine, she commented that she just doesn’t understand how or why anyone would want to work in their 70s. There is too much else to do in life. She commented that she thinks people claim that they want to work well past traditional retirement age for one reason. Because they haven’t bothered to plan.
She tapped her folder that contained her plan and said that she knows her exact retirement date. It’s coming up soon – 6 years, 2 months, 18 days. She’s not wasting one minute getting ready for retirement. And she surely won’t waste a single minute enjoying her long-awaited retirement years. It’s the power of having a plan for retirement.
What does your plan for retirement look like?
You may find it helpful to plan for retirement with a number of tools and resources, including:
From a financial perspective, use retirement income planning tools that are in-depth and comprehensive such as Fidelity’s Retirement Income Planner or T Rowe Prices’ Retirement Income Calculator
While I don’t love the title of this article, the concepts are right on for transitioning to retirement