You’re driving down the road, and something doesn’t feel quite right. When this happens, it’s usually time to take the car to the mechanic. While it’s there you get everything checked out and fixed, normally with the advice that it be brought back regularly for a tune up. This step is important and necessary in order to get you back on the road safe and happy, but what happens when you’re driving down the road of retirement and something doesn’t feel quite right?
After decades of looking forward to the more carefree lifestyle that comes with retirement, many retirees find that it falls short of their dreams and expectations. The reasons for this are as common as they can be unique. Boredom, lost sense of purpose, and missing the social interaction once enjoyed with coworkers are just a few of the things that can start to overshadow the freedom and joy retirement is meant to bring. There is also the fear of not knowing how long you will need your retirement income to last thus creating stringent budgets. Or maybe a move to a new place that’s far from family and friends has turned into a feeling closer to loneliness than adventure, leaving you to feel stuck with seemingly no place to turn. Any transition in life comes complete with emotional, financial, and lifestyle changes. Retirement is no exception to this rule. Fortunately, if life in retirement isn’t meeting your expectations, there are steps you can take to change it. Start by asking yourself these five questions.
Are you happy? – If the answer is no, re-examine your goals to discover what’s missing. Have you completed your goals sooner than expected and now lack inspiration on what to do next? Would part-time or volunteer work fulfill the void left behind from your full-time career?
How’s your health? – Are you taking good care of yourself, exercising, and eating right? If not, consider working with your healthcare provider(s) to put a plan in place to pursue a healthier, more energized lifestyle.
Do you have budget concerns? – After the first few months or years in retirement, there should be a better understanding of your essential living expenses – housing, food, clothing, healthcare, and transportation – as well as discretionary income for things like travel, hobbies, and social activities. A review of your budget annually with your financial advisor can determine if you’re spending too little or too much, which can help to avoid any future anxiety.
What’s changed in your life? – Was there a move to a retirement community only to find that the lifestyle wasn’t the right fit? Or has the possibility of divorce, remarriage, or a lost spouse upended your financial and future plans? Keep in mind that retirement isn’t the only change you may be experiencing. Me mindful to take the time required to adjust to all the changes in your life, but it’s also important to remain open to making modifications if you’re not satisfied with your current situation.
Are you living the life you envisioned?- In a recent survey of retired Americans, nearly three-quarters believe they don’t have the knowledge required to ensure their savings will last. This can dramatically affect life in retirement and its ability to live up to your expectations. A large part of this is due to insufficient income and rising healthcare costs in today’s environment. As income needs change over the course of retirement due to health, activity levels, life or world events, and personal decisions, take time to re-evaluate your goals and review your retirement plan with your financial advisor on a regular basis. Most of all, don’t be afraid of changing your course if the original plans aren’t working out the way you anticipated.
If any of these questions are highlighting your need for a retirement tune-up, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with your financial advisor. Make sure to prepare any questions you may have concerning your retirement income in order to avoid any future financial surprises. It’s time to make your idea of retirement to match your reality.