Questions to Ask Yourself As You Plan for Retirement

Retirement – When age seems to be playing a game of chase with you, and your knees are giving in, then you are certain that retirement is around the corner. Well, that’s if you are among the higher percentage of people who retire with a set of grey hair on their heads. After spending what seems to be a lifetime toiling, retirement sounds fantastic.

365 days a year, no duties to fulfill, just a whole load of free time. The thought of having this form of freedom is overwhelming, to say the least. And even more terrifying is the thought of still having to pay bills, and sustain life for your family without having a consistent source of income. It doesn’t have to be all terrifying because if you ask yourself these questions before retirement, you’ll be smiling all through it.

Questions to Ask Yourself As You Plan for Retirement

1. Estimate your monthly expenses.

When estimating your monthly expenses, you better be honest with yourself and factor inaccurate accounts. If not, you might in the future, drown in anxiety and depression in your retirement. With a picture of the overall expenses you incur for the smooth running of your affairs, you can build towards the trajectory of saving to sustain your lifestyle.

Through these estimates, you can predict the appropriate time for retirement and slowly transition into retirement with ease. This habit will not only favor your retirement but also improve your finances, as the fastest step towards proper allocation of finances, is by knowing where your money goes, don’t you think?

2. How long will I live?

Death is inevitable, and that’s just a fact we have to live with. Without considering the longevity of your life, you might end up under planning, leaving you in a situation whereby you’ll be stranded facing financial constraints. One of the few causes of seniors’ death is anxiety, and once in retirement, you need to take things easy. And this is achieved with accurate planning only. Having a sense of your life expectancy will help you conclude the best time to start claiming your social security withdrawals.

That can only be withdrawn after a thorough background check, health audit, and your current lifestyle. This small cash flow plays a big role in your chances of survival during retirement. With no cash flow or investment projects, we are doomed! So you better start planning early enough.

3. What do I do with all this free time?

When we are busy every single day of our life working, and worrying about work, we would kill for free time. We, however, become less enthusiastic about it when it’s all we have. Following that retirement means you no longer have a 9-5 job. You must ask yourself what you’d like to do with your free time. To get a precise picture, think of the activities that occupy your weekends, days off, and holidays. Do you find yourself going out on adventures or staying indoors?? If you always have a flight booked on holidays, how about, think of traveling the world after retirement.

You already seem to like it, and it will make you forget that you have nothing to do On the other hand if you are more of a homebody who prefers the comfort of your house, how about we find you a hobby? Like gardening, knitting, blogging, or painting. All of which you don’t necessarily need to interact with people. You might even end up surprising yourself just how good you are at these activities. On the plus side, you don’t have to be bothered about how well you do it. You have 30+ years to master your craft.

4. Are you saving enough?

Savings! savings! savings! A very common cliche, that is fundamental in every aspect. And in this case, the backbone of your retirement plan. Specialists have come up with countless rules of thumb on how much of your income to save. Some have simplified it down to the percentage according to your age. It’s easy to start small and steadily work your way up to your saving goal. Take as much advantage of the different retirement savings platforms. Do not limit yourself whatsoever and register for the IRA, 401k, and security fund.

Always, having in mind that your savings need to be adequate to sustain your lifestyle after retirement. Sounds like a lot of math doesn’t it? Simply put, if you see yourself spending about $120,000 yearly. Then that means that you’ll need to have more than 3million saved up to maintain that lifestyle after retirement. That’s if you follow the 4% rule of thumb.

5. Are you moving closer to home?

The hustle of life found a way to draw you out of the suburban comfort and into the busy city. Away from the familiarity of family and friends. Now, that’s the main reason for you moving miles away is about to be a story of the past. It’s very important to think about the possibility of you moving back to your hometown. You’ll get away from the noise and at least get some fresh air while you’re at it. You could set up a farmhouse for your grandkids to visit.

Reconnect with your high school friends who are most likely also retired, or are transitioning into retirement. You could even start a club and have some company adventuring through this new phase. You’d have the support of a family who’d, without a doubt, jump in when you need any help. The comradery will make the transition smoother, and you’ll fit right in.

On the other hand, if you are one of those free-spirited humans, whose family is all over the world. Then you need not feel pressured to move back to a place that you are certain you lost touch with. By all means, move to a new city, and get to redefine yourself and live a different life from this one.

6. Do you mind downsizing?

Lisa J.Shultz, in her book Lighter Living, romanticizes the idea of downsizing. Going even further to compare the feeling of downsizing to finding the right pair of fitted jeans. Downsizing lets you have just the things that you need around you. It clears a lot of the clutter and makes maneuvering around the house easier. There are less likely chances that you’ll end up rampaging through piles of paper. Just so you could showcase your moment to your grandkids.

Moreover, when the times are right, you might find the perfect family home on sale, where you’ll get to create new memories with your spouse and family. While you are on the topic of downsizing your home, don’t forget to unsubscribe to those countless magazine issues. These simple cuts could easily save you a pretty penny to glide you through retirement.

7. Any plans on starting a business?

With a whole list of things you are yet to do, each one has the potential of becoming a booming business. If you are familiar with TikTok, then you’ve probably come across this video making the rounds. Where a retired husband set out to find a solution to baldness to help cure his daughter’s hair issues, after trying different homemade remedies created and tested by him. He had found one that did the job and presented it to his child. Who took the opportunity to sway them into starting their own business.

Every morning, going forward was exciting and adventurous, to say the least. Sometimes life does begin where retirement starts. There are no winners or losers in this game. With that in mind, explore the possibilities, or just entertain the thought of finding something wholesome to do with your time. It might end up being a game-changer.

8. Do you prefer a gradual or wholesome retirement?

Undoubtedly, the scariest thing that comes with retirement is the never-ending free time on your hands. The need to feel purposeful and needed. Because somewhere along the line, we lost our purpose and developed an unhealthy relationship with our jobs. They became our reason to live and the reason that we feel alive. Somehow our purpose in life became intertwined with careers, and you probably see no fulfillment without one. Then you’d be better off slowly settling into retirement.

As you taste the waters, you get the advantage of still having an actual job to attend. It will save you from emotional torture. As long as you’ve created a plan, you’ll be able to channel more personal time as long as your boss is in on it. On the other hand, if you like to jump, then it’s the best time to leap. And savor every minute of retirement if you’ve already checked all the other questions on our list.

9. How will you cater to health care?

How about we talk about the elephant in the room! How exactly are you going to be going about handling health care in retirement? Because for so many years, you were covered medically under the company’s insurance. You can take advantage and enroll in Medicare. Which should pay for most of your medical needs when needed. Additionally, consider enrolling in a health savings account(HSA) or investing in long-term care insurance.
These will reduce the number of times you have to go out of pocket, to pay for medical needs.

10. At what age do you retire?

Do you see yourself retiring willingly after gaining financial freedom? Or will they have to wheel you out because your body can’t take it anymore? Whether you chose early retirement or at a ripe old age, that decision depends solely on you. If you have the drive and energy to perform efficiently, then there is nothing stopping you. From reporting to work daily. To work at attaining some form of financial independence. It’s important to also know the full retirement age in your country. And the consequences, if any when you choose to keep working after retirement.

In most cases, the law is a bit flexible on working even after retirement. You still get a monthly pension check, but be sure to discuss any impacts on your social security benefits. More importantly, when considering your retirement age, you should remember the down and upsides. Such as if you retire earlier than 62 years old, you’ll receive a reduced retirement benefit. The reductions can go as high as a 25% reduction on your monthly benefit. Unlike when you wait to reach the full retirement age of 62-67. Better yet, you could wait it out till you’re 70 and receive up to 132% monthly benefit.

11. How dependent are your children on you?

This is a question we should take some time to think through, as if not properly thought through, it might leave your children suffering the burden of your lifestyle. It might not sound as important until your children start bearing the cost of your healthcare, and life without any source of income. It is important to endorse your children in taking over your businesses and groom them to fit into the positions given to them, otherwise, hard-earned assets and cash might all disappear into thin air

12. Am I going to be okay?

As you transition to retirement, don’t be embarrassed that you need a lot of hand-holding. This new phase takes hits on your finances and even more on your psychology. You need to be very brave to keep a healthy mental space. Jog if you still can, or do other forms of physical activities to alleviate the stress of it all. Interact with other people to find a new identity from the one that involved your career. Go out and get a hobby if you must to ensure you still have some form of structure in your days. Go out on dates with your spouse and rekindle your love life.

When the clouds of depression and anxiety loom over your days, find a trusted person to talk to. Hire a specialist if you need to, as they’ll help you navigate through this feeling. I assure you that you will be okay. Constantly affirm to yourself that you can do this!

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