retirement lifestyle en-US Deciding What You Want Out of Retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deciding-what-you-want-out-of-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Grandparents" title="Grandparents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My father is counting the days.</p> <p>After about four decades of mostly back-breaking work, he&rsquo;s set to retire this winter. Just typing that makes me feel old, so I can imagine how my father feels, at least in part.</p> <p>I know he&rsquo;s excited for the change, but there&rsquo;s some trepidation there, too. Thankfully, he&rsquo;s in solid shape financially and has mapped out his lifestyle plans for when those Golden Years officially start.</p> <p>That makes him part of a well-prepared minority. A staggering 29% of workers ages 55 and older have saved less than $10,000 for retirement, according to a 2010 survey from the <a href="">Employee Benefit Research Institute</a>. Overall, the survey suggests that about 4 in 10 Americans have less than $10,000 in retirement savings. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">Don't Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</a>)</p> <p>Today, it&rsquo;s increasingly important for workers to step back and assess what they really want out of retirement. Here&rsquo;s a look at five key initial considerations.</p> <h3>Save the Date</h3> <p>Decide when the special day should come. Do you place importance on retiring at a young age, or would you like to stay working for a while? While making this work decision, you will need to reflect on <a href="">Social Security benefits</a>. Social Security eligibility starts at 62, and monthly payments are impacted by your withdrawal timeline.</p> <p>You will also have to calculate savings for this projected date. My decidedly non-tech-savvy father started looking at a simple <a href="">retirement calculator</a> to get a better feel for what awaits. There has to be enough funding stocked up for your retirement adventures. Your goals may need a specific financial plan.</p> <h3>Frugal or Fancy Free</h3> <p>What financial freedoms do you want in retirement? Maybe it's the ability to travel or take the whole family on vacation without obsessing over your budget. Or maybe it's finally leaving those bitter Northeastern winters behind for a November-February home in Florida. It could just be making sure you're able to stay retired and not have to return to the workforce at some later date.</p> <p>After calculating your projected savings, you may find that living inexpensively now will help you in the long run. Money you save in a company-backed 401(k) or in an IRA will always be there for you in the end. Make your decision and stick with it. Having a concrete, no-excuses budget will allow you to get what you want when you are an official retiree.</p> <h3>Address Retirement</h3> <p>Do you wish to stay put, or would you like a change of scenery? According to a <a href="">2010 Del Webb retirement survey</a>, retirees are less concerned about the weather at their retirement location; cost of living and health care are the top concerns for deciding on where to nest. Some states and cities meet those needs differently. The housing market should also be on your radar. It may be a buyer's market, but that also means selling your old pre-retirement pad may be more difficult.</p> <h3>Take Care</h3> <p>With retirement comes aging. Before you retire, make a long-term care plan. This will require you to sit down with your benefactors and discuss future decision-making. If you do not have someone legally appointed to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf, make these arrangements as soon as possible. Your long-term care and living situation should be an ongoing discussion. You may need assisted living some day, or your family may want to take responsibility for your care. Long-term care insurance is a great investment tool to help with these retirement costs.</p> <h3>Get on the Same Page</h3> <p>Make sure your spouse and family know what you expect from this time. Get their input on what they think you will enjoy best in retirement. They may recommend that you buy the motorcycle of your dreams or plan an annual <a href="">vacation</a>. You and your loved ones probably don&rsquo;t want your retirement to be full of regrets. Decide what is best now, so you have goals and objectives throughout this new, exciting chapter.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">What You Need to Know About Working While Collecting Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">3 Financial Penalties Every Retiree Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Kinds of Insurance Every Retiree Should Consider</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Retirement life insurance retirement lifestyle social security Tue, 25 Oct 2011 10:24:18 +0000 Chris Birk 763011 at Rewriting the Definition of Retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rewriting-the-definition-of-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src=" of retirement.jpg" alt="retirement sunset" title="retirement sunset" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Retirement</strong> <em>[ri-tahyuhr-muhnt]</em>:<strike> The act of retiring or the state of being retired; removal or withdrawal from service, office, or business. </strike></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You go to school. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You get a good job/career. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You work for forty years or so. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">In the meantime, you find a soul mate, marry, buy a house, have kids, and live happily ever after. The kids grow up and move out. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Then you retire. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Your life map is so clearly laid out in front of you; yet the last piece of the puzzle – <strong>retirement</strong> – is a fuzzy and often incomprehensible anomaly. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">With people living longer and striving for earlier retirements, the very definition of retirement is evolving. No longer is it merely a way to stop working and basically wait for death to come; that would take too bloody long and be a bore. Now retirement takes many different shapes and forms:</p> <ul> <li>Starting a new <strong>business</strong></li> <li>Part-time <strong>consulting</strong> or contract work for your previous employer</li> <li><strong>Travel</strong></li> <li><strong>Volunteering</strong> for, or even starting up charities</li> <li>Moving to a new part of the world to join the ranks of worldwide<strong> ex-pats</strong></li> <li>Investing in <strong>Property</strong></li> <li>Running a <strong>Bed &amp; Breakfast</strong></li> <li>Buying a <strong>farm</strong></li> <li>…whatever you can imagine</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Retirement is no longer conventionally retiring…instead, it is <strong>REENGAGING</strong>. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Reengagement or not, retirement is still looked upon as the prize at the end of the road. You trudge through life, often suffering through hardships or careers you are miserable in, with the golden light at the end of the tunnel; the carrot dangling in front of you – retirement – to keep you going and getting out of bed every morning. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But with retirement increasingly taking the form of the activities listed above, there is but one question I must ask:</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">Why Not Now?</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Why not buy that Bed &amp; Breakfast now?</strong> Or that farm you always dreamed of owning? I know a couple who in their forties bought a raw piece of land, and turned it into a beautiful estate where they fulfilled their dream of owning horses, llamas, donkeys, and angora goats. They were not rich when they did this. They bought inexpensively, and built frugally. They pay for their dream by renting out two cottages on the property. They even have a third cottage for live-in help, who lives rent-free in exchange for managing the cottages part time. This allows them to instead focus their time and effort on enjoying their paradise. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Why not invest in property now?</strong> Instead of buying a house for you to live in and being cash poor for the next 20 years, why not rent an inexpensive place (if it is possible in your area) and use the extra cash to buy an investment property? Or two? You could quickly find yourself able to quit your job with the passive income from property, as a <em>friend of mine did at the age of 36</em>. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Why not open that business you yen for?</strong> Or make the switch to freelance work in the same field you currently work in? Maybe simply redefining your work day and who your boss is could give you that jolt of energy and happiness you are searching for. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Why not travel now?</strong> Personally, I managed to find a way to travel in a financially sustainable manner, for as long as I choose. So far I have traveled and lived across Canada, the US (including Hawaii), and Australia, with a small stint in Asia. And I’m still going strong. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>I can’t afford that</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">I know, I know. Investing in property takes cash. You can’t buy that farm with peanuts. And you sure as heck can’t get on a plane with nothing but a wish and a prayer. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">A steady stream of income and some cash in hand is required to qualify for the mortgage, get the business off the ground, or buy the plane ticket. And a cumbersome debt load may currently be in the way of it all.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">It is true that the Pollyanna approach of “why not now” could be unrealistic and offensive. I get it. So maybe you need to put a plan in motion to get to the point where you CAN realize your dreams – before you turn 55 or 65. For example, maybe you can:</p> <ul> <li>Outline an aggressive <a href="/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly" target="_blank">debt-elimination</a> strategy to get on your feet</li> <li>Stop spending money on the <a href="/the-retirement-latte" target="_blank">little things</a> that make little difference to your overall happiness</li> <li>Redefine what “home” means to you (by renting a much smaller pad and making due, or not furnishing the way your peers do, or not buying the toys you want and “need”)</li> <li><a href="/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap" target="_blank">Sell off the things</a> that may help you get closer to your retirement dream and learn to live with less</li> <li><a href="/8-meatless-dishes-for-meat-n-taters-lovers" target="_blank">Stop cooking with meat every day</a>, and start using <a href="/soy-milk-tofu-and-veggie-burgers-for-pennies-anyone" target="_blank">dried beans</a> more often</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The above strategies are all things I personally did to make my dream of travel a reality. <a href="/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap" target="_blank">I sold everything</a>, and own almost nothing. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I have lived in a number of places from cold camper vans to off-grid yurts to shared rooms to full-blown five star cottages. Some places were a stretch to feel like any sort of home. (I compensated by living in beautiful locales where the idea was to enjoy the outdoors, not indoors). </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I am a solid omnivore, cooking with meat no more than twice a week (despite the fact that I love meat), and instead preparing healthy and delicious meals for a fraction of the price. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">My boyfriend in turn set out an incredibly aggressive one year plan to get out from under his massive debt-load and save the necessary funds to travel with me, by also making a number of hard sacrifices. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Ultimately, it all depends on how badly you want the “retirement dream” you have created. Nothing is impossible, if you approach it creatively enough. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Having kids gets in the way</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">A common argument for not “reengaging” (or retiring) now is the kids. Common themes are the desire to provide stability, or needing to work long hours for the necessary money to provide for their needs. And although <em>these are valid things to consider, these obstacles too can be overcome</em>. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I have a friend who has twin baby girls, and who is also actively gearing her business to become a passive stream of income not requiring her physical presence, so she can satisfy her life-long dream of living abroad. The girls will (of course) come with her, and she believes that their experiences abroad will be far more educational and character-shaping than preschool and primary school ever could be. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Another couple I know took their two kids out of school for a year and home-schooled them, while they sailed around the Caribbean on a boat. They worked remotely using satellite internet connections to keep money coming in, and they ended up spending less money during their life abroad (including the cost of the boat) than they ever would have spent at home. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong>The Big Question is:</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">If retirement is really a reengagement, then what is your definition? What is your retirement dream? And what can you do now to get there sooner? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Courier New'">Let’s re-write the dictionary together.</span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Millennial Money Habits Every Retiree Should Learn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">What is keeping you from a life of financial independence?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Book review: Retire on Less Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Share your favorite financial websites and win $25</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Retirement consulting freelance fulfilling dreams lifelong dreams property investment retirement lifestyle retirement living volunteering world travel Mon, 22 Sep 2008 05:07:23 +0000 Nora Dunn 2448 at