Dieters, frustrated novelists, and daydreamers all know there’s a big difference between intention and action, action and perseverance. Those preparing for retirement do so too. So the next time you hear yourself or a soon-to-retire friend say they’re ready to let go of some big stuff, take a moment.
Then ask, “Really?”
For those who are serious about retirement, the preparation is not just financial. You can try to golf away for the rest of your life or rest on the laurels of your job performance. But the experience won’t be nearly as rich or rooted in your new reality.
So what should you prepare to part with? And can you? Let’s see if you resonate with or resist these three realities.
Do not miss it
Say sayonara to things
If you really believe that he or she who dies with the most toys wins, then you may not have given much thought to whether that comes with an eternal storage closet.
The fact is, excess stuff will only weigh you down, especially if you want to travel or spend more time nurturing your relationships (more on that later).
Retirement is an ideal time to take stock. How many trinkets have you collected? Do you really need them? (Probably not in most cases) What’s stopping you from saying goodbye to them – logistics, emotions, or a combination?
Taking the first step to thin out the herd of excess possessions, especially collectibles and large items, can also help boost retirement savings.
You are no longer your career
Retirement means a welcome end to overachievement and borrowed identity. We are not our job itself, and when we come back eight hours a day, many people are surprisingly stumped as to how to redeem it.
And no wonder. If you’ve practically worked your entire life to achieve a career goal, win awards, gain status and reap the rewards, then chances are a big part of your identity is tied up in your career. A lot of tied up. Letting go of a grateful profession is hard.
Next: Are you ready to give up the adrenaline rush of hard work? Or the recognition that comes with someone asking, “What are you doing?” Or the satisfaction your job gave you?
If you’re not so sure, you’re in good company. A study cited in USA Today found that 47% of retirees continued to work after retirement, while a whopping 72% of pre-retirees stated they would like to continue working.
Indeed, some people never retire in the traditional sense; athletes often come out of retirement as well. As you figure out what works for you, keep in mind that no matter how you structure your golden years, immersing too much identity into your career will raise questions you don’t want to ignore.
Read more: Here’s How Much The Average American 60-Year-Old Has In Retirement Savings — How Does Your Nest Egg Compare?
All that disposable income
An important reason why many retirees do not want to give up their work has to do with income security. What if you get sick? Your partner loses his job? Or another emergency landing that requires you to have cash on hand? Having a job often takes the sting out of such scenarios.
Meeting with a Retirement Financial Advisor — decades before, if possible – is crucial. They can help you set a dollar savings goal to ensure the quality of life you want, and strike a balance between checking off bucket list items and saving for emergencies.
Currently, 48% of employees believe they are not making enough money to save for retirement, according to statistics cited by annuity.org. What’s worse, 22% of Americans have only $5,000 or less saved for retirement, while 15% have nothing at all. Taken together, that is more than a third of the workforce.
While Americans struggle with low savings, Social Security, pensions (if any), and other financial assets can provide financial relief. On the other hand, expenses that have escaped attention for years – real money wasters like unused memberships and subscriptions, for example – are now ripe for a bit of culling.
Real retirement wealth: It’s all about relationships
New retirees past 60 often struggle with the belief that their best years are behind them. The idea of cutting ties with work, and its myriad distractions, can be terrifying. Why is this?
Take a moment to reflect on the strong bonds we form with colleagues at work, and what happens to them when we retire. This truth holds the key to a rewarding, exciting, happy retirement: You now have the time to double and triple relationships.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development has followed two groups of men for more than 80 years, making it one of the most remarkable longitudinal studies in history. The most recent conclusion is irrefutable: the people most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.
Retirement is a time to give up the stress of work and instead strain relationships. If you’ve spent your career hoping to get rich but haven’t quite gotten there, this is the way to do it. Money can buy quality of life, but not quality time.
If you are financially secure, good for you. The race is run. Now you are in an ideal position to reap investment rewards in a different way.
A golden option for your golden years
With the economy in such a volatile state amid high inflation and stock market uncertainty, your 401(k) or IRA — and your retirement itself — could be in jeopardy.
You can try adjusting your retirement accounts for better protection, but there’s a lesser-known alternative that can pay big dividends.
A Gold IRA is a type of individual retirement account that allows you to invest in gold and other precious metals in physical form, such as coins, instead of stocks, mutual funds, and other traditional investments.
It’s a great alternative because unlike the US dollar, which has lost 98% of its purchasing power since 1971, gold’s purchasing power remains more stable over time.
Choosing a Gold IRA gives you the opportunity to both diversify your portfolio and stabilize your finances – and gold typically carries less risk than other alternative investments.
If you want to open a Gold IRA, there are reputable services that will allow you to transfer your current 401(k) or IRA to this new account. To qualify, you must be over age 59 and have at least $70,000 to transfer.
This article provides information only and should not be taken as advice. It comes without any kind of warranty.