You have worked hard your entire life and you have finally made it- it’s time to enjoy retirement! What should be your first order of business in your new lifestyle of ease? A cruise? A road trip? Punch the snooze button and sleep in? How about a detailed budgeting session? The latter seems like the least enjoyable option unless you have some rare condition where you enjoy spreadsheets. As unattractive as this option sounds, it is a key component to reaching your retirement goals. Which, by the way, is the first step. Define your goals for your retirement years and simply ask yourself: How would I define a successful aging story? In other words, when you look back at the final chapter in your story what would make you feel most satisfied? While your answers may vary from others, there is a strong likelihood that your goals are well managed within the three budgets that you should be keeping to best optimize your golden years.
Did you know that one of the greatest fears of senior citizens in America is outliving their resources? Don’t let this be a factor in your story. Know the risks that are ahead of you and plan accordingly. Evaluate your home and determine if it remains the safest and most cost effective place for you to remain throughout these retirement years. Consider the cost of upkeep, the cost of accommodating the home as you age to suit your health needs and the probability of the unexpected home repairs that can rob big chunks of your savings without warning. You may also need to consider the costs of home care or Long Term Care as a likelihood at some point. Do your dollars stretch for all of these risk factors? How can you be sure? You may also consider the value that many find in a senior living community that offers a Life Care contract which can offer predictable rates now while you’re independent as well as discounted, predictable rates for future care. Predictability is key to a successful budget and finding a path that allows for accurate projections for spending is critical. Budget wisely!
Twenty four hours each day is all we have. How will you budget your time? These are the years that you have worked so hard for, don’t you want to eliminate as much waste as possible? For this budgeting process, write down the things that you “have to do” then write down the things that you “get to do”. The “have to do’s” include yard work, cooking, cleaning, and paying the bills. The “get to do’s” might be any number of things like travel, play with grandkids, paint or write. Consider ways that you can shrink your “have to do” list while expanding your “get to do” list. Many people move into maintenance free environments for this very reason, they want a very short “have to do” list. Retirement shouldn’t be all about chores and to do lists! Your time is precious and so should be the ways you choose to spend it. Budget wisely!
Just like your financial budget and time budget have their cap, so does your energy. There is literally only so much energy that you have to give out each day. Therefore, be very careful where you spend it because you may find yourself depleted when it really counts. Do you really want to be so tired and irritable when the grandkids come by because you gave all of your energy to pulling weeds and spraying for bugs in the summer heat? Wouldn’t you rather give them the bulk of your energy and give these menial chores your left overs? How about those activities that you get trapped into by people who mean well, but suddenly you are in an obligation trap that you can’t find yourself out of. As you enter retirement, you may find that many people assume you are looking for things to do with your new found freedom and they will gladly fill your time for you. Your new favorite word during these hard earned years may need to become NO so that you can say YES to the things that most bring you joy! Besides, increased joy equals health, happiness and ultimately, longer life. Budget wisely!
Money, Time and Energy. These are the resources that you have available to you. Live well, live long and budget wisely.
By: Jill Janes, MRC Vice President of Sales & Marketing