5 Steps BEFORE You Retire
Are you thinking about your future, your retirement? Are you wishing that you could retire sooner rather than later? Are you wondering how it will even be possible to retire?
Well here are five steps to consider before you retire – five things that will help get you there sooner…
1. Get Out Of Debt BEFORE you retire
2. Downsize your expenses BEFORE you retire
3. Understand the tax implications of where you retire
4. Save and/or invest as much as you can before you retire
5. Acquire unique skills for supplemental income ‘after’ you retire
Get Out Of Debt BEFORE You Retire
This is one of the biggest issues these days. Too many (most) people ‘live large’ while having burdened themselves with excessive debt relative to their income. This debt often shackles the ability to advance in any real way. It will be exceedingly difficult to transition into retirement if you are carrying debt. Do what you need to do, and get rid of it. Live BELOW your means…
Downsize BEFORE You Retire
Your income WILL be greatly reduced during retirement. That means you will need to be living a lifestyle that already matches a reduced income level for after retirement. That may require you downsize your way of life. Look around you and look at your own lifestyle. Can you eliminate things or reduce things or live smaller such that it will have a lesser impact on your budget?
Understand The Tax Implications Of WHERE You Retire
There are tremendous differences between one state and other states and one region or another with regards to taxes. Especially pay very close attention to property taxes because property taxes will never go down. They will always go higher. Throughout your retirement you will be required to pay those taxes. You might seriously consider moving…
Save And Invest As Much As You Can BEFORE You Retire
This sounds obvious and simplistic, however many, many people do not save enough money and/or invest enough for their future retirement. Even presuming that ‘social security’ benefits will be available to you, the fact is that the money you receive is going to be a lot less than you’re used to – and you will still have expenses. So the more you have squirreled away, the easier it will be to adapt to a much lower income.
Note: ‘Investing’ may be VERY risky today depending what you do, so be VERY careful.
Acquire Unique Skills For Supplemental Income
This category is huge. Unfortunately there are many people who simply cannot retire because they have not prepared. They will need to continue working until the dirt nap. That said, there may be a very good opportunity for you to do ‘something’ that will add a bit of income after you retire. Some part time work that you can handle. Depending on where you live and the services that may be of value there, you might consider acquiring whatever those skills happen to be, so that you can do some part time work to supplement your retirement.
CONCLUSION: There are LOTS of things to consider and to do correctly and beneficially BEFORE you retire, and hopefully these ideas presented above will get you to thinking about it…
For those of you who have already retired, or retired in the sense that you’ve left your previous career and are at ‘retirement age’, what are some of your own suggestions for those who have not yet retired??
Have a plan. Thinking that you will simply sit on the porch will result in boredom and an early grave.
I am retiring this year. I have been taking 30 hours of training to be a volunteer in the nearby National Park. I will be doing patrols that provide eyes and ears for the rangers plus provide medical or other assistance to park users. It’s gonna be a blast!
We also have an RV and have planned many long extended trips. Hopefully this will be our last winter in the cold.
We have been debt free for ages and are already living on our retirement budget with everything else being saved.
This is a very critical time in our lives. The decisions you make prior to retirement will, for the most part, determine your comfort level in retirement. I believe that having a written plan with goals is critical to a successful retirement. If you are married, both spouses MUST be on the same page, in agreement on things.
The five points that Ken mentioned above are “must do” points. Think of them as the 5 commandments!
Getting out from underneath debt is probably the first, most important and possibly the most difficult step to accomplish. It was for us. Develop a “frugal” mindset on every purchase. Put yourself in the position of discerning between a ‘want’ and a ‘need’.
Your social security check is only designed to be an addition to your retirement plan for income, not your primary income. I have read articles claiming that if you are 40 years old today not to count on a social security check in your 60’s. That is a scary thought, but it may become a reality. Rely on no one but yourself to provide for you in your retirement.
Blessings and happy planning.
“…articles claiming that if you are 40 years old today not to count on a social security check in your 60’s…”
I have a good friend in his 40 that actually went to SS about this, they would NOT answer him “on the record” but off the record, they told him at age 40 he would see no 100% SS until he turned 72, and the expected income would be around 2/3 what it is now…. Early retirement would be -10% per year, it’s -5% now, also the “late” retirement would be +5%, it’s +8% now.
On social security, I think it is tough to get an answer today for where it will be 20 years down the road. We treated it as a supplement in our retirement planning.
Ken, all great points!
To echo Patriot on a plan: I cannot stress enough the need to put together a plan to execute the article key points. And yes, the nasty ‘budget’ word surfaces. Creating a budget is critical to independence; create your now budget and a retirement budget (which is a reduced version of the now budget), then live to the retirement budget today. See if you can survive while you have time to make changes.
I like using a spreadsheet for a budget, easy to see the numbers and what if changes. If you don’t do spreadsheets, find a friend who does, they can set up the format and any calculations, you can type in your numbers later for privacy. Probably many spreadsheet budget templates online. A budget is another survival tool.
The first four article points can be done, many have done it, or are doing it who post here. I have and it’s a great feeling. I enjoy the simple life (family, shelter, sustenance)and living below our means. The DW and I live at least 50% below our means (the 50% includes saving, watching cash flow like a hawk, investing [a risk I know], buying what we need).
Skills for supplemental income is an interesting exercise to find what is practical to do. I had to let go of being in the movies! I have figured out about four possibilities, of which I need to narrow down to one or two and set up for it. Short term I have laid the ground work to be part time in my current position, I may not exercise it but want the contingency budget planned at my current work.
Start today, not tomorrow.
For those working full time, buy the retirement stuff (tools, parts, etc..) now and use the medical insurance (if you have it) to fix what needs fixing, or get checked out from stem to stern to know if you are OK.
Some retirement plans allow you to defer you taxes until you retire – I regret doing this for half of my savings. The theory was that your earnings would be much less when you retire and therefore your taxes would be less. By the time the earnings on savings went to ZERO in secure investments and inflation/taxes went up, I find that I am further behind and fearful of next years tax calculations. I now recommend that we pay as we go to avoid future surprises.
I’m thinking that two of the things a person approaching retirement age ought to be considering are 1) social security and 2) Medicaid. I have not given a lot of thought to either as I am still far enough away where it is theoretical at this point.
I do think it would be very interesting to know what decisions and actions one has to do with either of these two programs to ensure an optimum outcome for when the time comes. I see the ads, and there is obviously an industry around this (consultants, lawyers, etc.) but it seems like there ought to be some basic guideless at play for each of these, the sharing of which might benefit folks that read this board….
Do you mean Medicare?
Medicaid is for low-income and Medicare is for seniors.
Good article Ken. Someone said “don`t retire, re-tread” :)
I do believe that Ken reads some of the comments, and picked up on this one… HAHAHA
Plan Plan and then Plan some more.
Debt, if you have it, DON’T. Interest will eat up your savings and lessened income in a heartbeat. I know some people that have CCs with 24-25% interest some at 7.5%. Put them in the safe, don’t use them, pay them off, and keep them for “emergencies” ONLY.
Make a spreadsheet with ALL of your expenses you currently have, Elect., Water, Insurances, Taxes, Gas, Dog-food, TP, Mortgage, Food, Entertainment, Phone/Internet/TV, Clothing, everything. Add another column to calculate your expected income. Now for the hard part; start cutting your expenses to equal 2/3 the income.
Most people have children, when those 2.5 kid’s move out, why do you still have that 2800+ Sq. Ft. house? Sell it, move to 1600 Sq. Ft. with 1/2 the taxes, and a LOT nicer view that you always wanted. Or as I want to do, 500 Sq. Ft. house with a 5000 Sq. Ft. Shop…. HAHAHA
Make dang sure you have Hobbies, and inexpensive things to do, Fishing, Hunting, Camping, so-on. I would also make sure you have social things to do, the Adult Center, Places to volunteer your time, The local Bar (well maybe not), or you will/may find yourself very, VERY bored. BOOKS lots and lots of books.
Ken mentioned “Save And Invest As Much As You Can BEFORE You Retire” this not only goes to $$$$, but if your wanting a few things you always wanted, ya had best get them before you retire BEFORE money gets very tight, and it will.
Lastly, you had better make darn sure you get with Social Security Services, and Medicare well before you pull the plug, there is a LOT to know about SS and what Medicare and Supplemental Insurances you will need. A word of warning; if you don’t get the Medicare correct, it will cost you a LOT of money if you change it.
Also SS, do NOT just talk to one person at the SS office, you will get different answers depending on who you talk to, remember, you’re dealing with the .gov, MAKE them write or print things that you can take with you. These SS people are like a car sales person, they will get every dime from you they can. You have paid into SS; you have a right to get what’s coming back.
OK one more thing, make dang sure that Deep Pantry if full, full, full before getting that last paycheck…. Remember Ken’s last article? Inflation WILL hit you HARD.
BTW, 470 days, 4 hours, 26 minutes, 18 seconds, but who’s counting??? HAHAHA
PS; very timely article Ken, thanks.
We agree on most things NRP but not on the CC. Credit Cards are a form of payment just like cash, checks, debit cards and change from your pocket. I use CC everyday and every chance I get and earn points and cash back rewards to the tune of about 6-700.00 a year(mostly on my Cabella’s card). No one is going to pay you to use cash.
The problem with using CC is not with the card but with the person using them. Pay them off each month and you will pay NO INTEREST at all and will earn money by doing it. Don’t pay them off and you will rack up the interest and then you have a problem but then the people that do this are the same ones that overdraft their checking accounts, bounce checks and run out of cash before they run out of expenses. One of the most important things to do before you retire (or at any time) is to learn money management.
To Patriot: Thanks for volunteering in your nearby National Park. As the federal budget tightens, more services within those places will come about only by people like yourselves.
I got my start many years ago in emergency medicine and upgraded to an RN to work indoors. I’ll be looking to cut back my hours in a few years and may be considering a NOC shift job. (within large hospitals, Noc shift is either staffed by new grads or older, empty-nesters. I am in the latter group.)
I will be working a while as my wife married me for my Dental Plan and she has expensive tastes.
Planning for retirement has really changed during the past 20 years. Now, I feel that anyone on the brink of retirement needs to understand the financial and political climate so they can plan for the ‘wild card’ (aka SHTF) scenario before making the leap.
Our original retirement plan was ruined by the Bush-Obama regimes. We were paying attention but did not understand the depth of corruption like we now do. I feel this holds true for many Americans. Although the 2008 market-crash didn’t affect us personally (I had liquidated in 2007), we were affected by the financial problems that followed (TARP, Recession/Depression, ZIRP). Then came Obama with his intentional destruction of our health care system. At this point, no one can predict how our health care system will unfold and it is the ‘wild card’ that prevented us both from being retired. That is about to change for us, though, because we are nearing that time when we are going to both be retired.
We’ve been debt free for many years and we live on a budget. We are about to tighten that budget so that we can learn and experience how our finances/lifestyles will change. We used to be excellent savers, but there is no real return in safe investments now (ZIRP).
Since 2009, we decided to be more self-sufficient and more preparedness oriented. We began to invest in ourselves more and we invested in ‘other things’ in a much lesser way. We bought tangibles and preserved some wealth through PMs. We increased our gardens, increased the livestock, and increased our pantry contents. We then began to purchase long-term food storage. What soon followed was increased home security, personal security, etc. Some of this was directly attributed to the threats surrounding Obama’s Presidency.
We are in Virginia and it’s not the best or the worst state to retire in. I have studied state tax burdens for more than a decade and knowing which states are ‘retirement friendly’ can be an asset. Virginia’s sales tax is reasonable, but they do tax foods. Virginia does not tax Social Security benefits and there is an age exemption on State tax forms. There is no state inheritance tax, either.
Virginia taxes the value of owned vehicles as part of the County property taxes and those taxes are high when you own a new vehicle. (I’ve never understood how a punitive tax like this is justified with the working class who need vehicles to maintain employment.) This is a tax burden that is not always publicized. Virginia doesn’t have high property taxes in all of the rural counties, but many counties are increasing property taxes due to changing demographics.
There are at least a dozen Virginia counties that have high taxes as they are near the Washington, Richmond, or Hampton Roads corridors. The highest property taxes in the US are in those regions. Virginia has also gone ape-shit with the Agenda-21 regulations, forcing the sale of most properties to be less than 5 acres and limiting farms to be filed with Conservation Easements (government control of land use). Let these facts be an illustrated example of why a person needs to understand a state’s tax burden and real property zoning regulations.
I have to take issue with point #5, though: “Acquire unique skills for supplemental income ‘after’ you retire”.
Not all people will seek supplemental retirement income due to their investment and/or retirement strategies.
Regarding your issue with #5, yes, if someone has squirreled away enough cash & investments then you’re exactly correct.
I added #5 because I have zero doubt that most people do not have enough cash to make it all the way to their ‘end’, and therefore will benefit greatly by having some sort of supplemental income. By finding something that one enjoys to do, it is possible to have some fun a few days a week while also generating some cash flow… Maybe some can put their talents to work as a side-business, etc.. Kind of like a hobby that pays.
As the old saying goes Ken. Find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life. I have never had a problem with working it’s that working for a living thing that bothers me LOL. When I retire ( about 6 years ) I will find something to do part time and not worry about how much money I make doing it. With luck by then then the days of working for a living will be over.
I agree with you, finding something you LOVE to do for a living is a MUST!!!
But, and there seems to always a “but” attached, When I first started construction back in the 70s, I absolutely loved carpentry work, 45 years later, welllll maybe not so much.
As far as after retirement, I’m looking forward to getting back into the “hobbies” and if I can make a dime on selling my “fun” that would be great.
I’m just saying, if you love doing something, just be careful turning it into a “job” that takes the fun from what yar doing.
Don’t you mean you live in VEPCO. Formally known as the state of Virginia. Sorry I couldn’t help it, I used to live there. I remember the joke about the signs as you came into Virginia. Welcome to Virginia owned and operated by the Virginia Electric and Power Company. I also remember a legislative approval for VEPCO to raise rates because the stockholders deserved to make a profit. This information is dated because I lived there 25 years ago. I still have a lot of family in the area and their utility bills are outrageous.
More seriously now and I address this to single Preppers. If you are going to get married get a pre nuptial agreement. DD is in over her head because of ex husbands spending habits, she has the income and creditors are looking at her instead of him.
Good advice, Ken. After all my earnings being taken by my ex with his greedy deceptions over 13 years, I had to start all over again.
I am taking a working retirement option to take 1/2 the SS from my ex at age 66 and continue working PT to build my benefits. Then I can choose the higher amount between mine and his by the time I am 70. I believe the cut off date is those born after 1954 and is available for those who were married for 10 years or more.
That’s a plan I have to take since my ex cheated me out of my money and out of paying into my SS all that time with our former business. I’ll have enough to pay off my home in 2 years that way and save more for my retirement at my late start.
Save And Invest As Much As You Can BEFORE You Retire…but the banking system is teetering on collapse and fiat money can be made valueless overnight…tangible goods are a much sounder investment…see yesterdays topic!
It’s a combination of things indeed…
Also, probably not a good idea to NOT save (because one assumes that the system is going to crash). While I do have my serious doubts that the system as we know it today can remain intact as is…, ‘the system’ could very well keep limping along till we’re all gone from this earth. We just don’t know.
One must diversify all preparations, including the notion that the system will remain, and certainly planning that it also might not.
I suppose it has to do with the old saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” (or assumptions).
Thanks for the article, Ken.
I have been thinking about this lately, and wondering if it is even possible. I have been discussing this with lots of friends in my age group (early and mid 40’s), and most of us don’t believe that we will be able to retire. We also live in an area where most people are in the service industry. Restaurants, ski areas, and rafting companies don’t offer good pay rates, health insurance, or retirement packages.
The overwhelming mind set is that we earn enough to pay the bills and are not waiting to retire in order to enjoy life. No cubicles, and living where everyone else comes for vacation. Most don’t believe we will ever receive a SS check, even though we pay into it. Not getting to “retirement age” for 20+ years, and all of the uncertainty in the future makes it difficult to plan that far in advance. Nobody trusts “the market” either.
Right now my plan consists of getting out of debt now, a SS check if that still exists in 25 years, and a reverse mortgage on the house if banks are still around then. Beyond that, we hope that in a few years, we will have enough equity in the house that we will be able to use it for a down on another and can rent this one for more than the monthly payment. If we had the cash to do it right now with current rental prices, this house would be $300-400 cash positive, providing the new mortgage was same as this one. I wonder if any of the others reading this in their 30’s or 40’s feel similarly???
I’m in that category. No savings and no debt but a small self-directed IRA that is currently invested in real estate. I have no expectation that I’ll ever get Social Security or Medicare, and retirement will likely be what I can create for myself. Even if SS lasts until I’m 72 (full retirement age, unless they change their minds again) the amount will likely be far below a “living” wage. At 1% increase per year, and 3 – 6% inflation, by the time I retire SS will be play money.
Investments are looking increasingly risky, even bonds since they are subject to the whims of the .gov. Real estate only if you intend to hold the actual physical asset (none of these real estate investment funds, thank you very much). The social security and retirement of the future will be what we can make for ourselves.
My wife and I feel the same. We are working towards being debt free. But we both figure we won’t ever be able to retire. Too many variables out there that are stacked against you to save up for retirement. I figure I’ll be working till the day I die.
It really gets me fired up that I am paying SS now and will get next to nothing in return. Give me that money now and I can find a better things to do with it. But the .gov thinks they know best.
Well they can just KMA!!
Adapt and Overcome
The first thing I will do before I retire is die.
I’m planning on running my rentals and other businesses until I die. I have been debt free for decades and have always invested in rentals and other small yet consistent money making endeavors. As the story goes, “man plans and God laughs”.
It is so important for young people to think about money and income instead of pleasures and foolishness when one is in their prime money making years. A family that works, plays and saves together will survive together. Exercise and eat healthy and don’t abuse your bodies with gluttony, alcohol, drugs and injuries.
Every person’s situation is different but always keep a can do attitude and prepare for your future. I still purchase used vehicles and live very frugally. Think need instead of want and your needs will come. The one thing I always keep reminding my family is to never get too comfortable, all the things we have today can be gone tomorrow. Always stay grounded and alert.
I have a problem with the save and invest category. Did we forget about the Greek haircuts? Also I know people who retired well off, only to be forced back to work part time after the housing bubble burst. They were vested heavily in the stock market with their 401k and such. Last I heard, they died poor. I know many people who lost large portions of their investments. The only people that seem to do well in the stock market are the people at the very top. It’s a rigged system in my book, and the little guy will never come out ahead.
I would rather invest in the future. Food for the future, after all when was the last time you saw a price drop on food, and you will always have to eat if you wish to stay alive. Anything that you will need in the future is better to buy now before the price goes up or before the fiat money becomes worthless.
And also plan for the unexpected. We had just moved to our homestead and one year later my husband was offered early retirement by his company. And it was either take the package – or retire without it. The company had “reorganized.” All the major executives went out the door. So be aware, no matter how much you plan, the unexpected may happen.
On a more positive note, we were very prepared having downsized, sold off everything we didn’t need here (although we made some expensive homestead purchases to get up and running) and started here completely debt-free. And here with extreme diligence, I have cut our living expenses by more than 70%. But always a work in progress.
Plan,, plan, and plan some more. But the unexpected may happen. Oh, and hubby decided to do something he loves now instead of the same career choice he had. My happy little wine-maker…
Oh, and I forgot to mention that he was offered that early retirement about four years early from when he was planning to retire.
I sympathize with you.
My DH had to retire in 2010, 4 years too early as well. The new Governor was trying to cut salaries and pensions by a third after he took office, didn’t happen but in order to keep their pensions a lot of employees took early retirement before the .guv was told couldn’t cut salaries or the pensions without going thru the legislature and Civil Service if I remember correctly.
I retired the end of December last year. Had a very bad health scare last June,in part due to the stress of my job and the possibility that I (and the other assistants) were going to get laid off as well. The company I worked for started last September cutting positions across the company. Talked to one of my co workers the other day and it is still rumored that more jobs are being considered for elimination. Glad I am out of there.
I retired 14 years ago and we were scared to death that we were not financially ready. We were and are conservative so the change wasn’t as hurtful as we thought it would be. We are in pretty good shape seeing that I was the only one working before retirement. I was an auto mechanic.
Here are some of the things we did.
We moved from a high real estate tax state which had a sales tax and high income taxes to a lower tax state.
We bought a home in an area which we thought would not lose any value or become a slum area. Which is more important that property values going up along with taxes.
Get the approval of your children about where you are moving to. We didn’t and it has caused a lot of problems.
If you have medical issues make sure a hospital is not to far away.
There are many more things that have and have not worked for us, but that’s life.
I wish you all of the happiness that my wife and I have had since retirement.
I have a bad reputation here to talk a LOT, but sometimes I do listen…. HAHAHA
Especially when someone has Been-there-Done-that, with that in mind and not trying to get into your personal life or compromising OPSEC, could ya do a list of the “Don’t s ??
It seems we all talk of the “dos” but how about sharing some of the “Ohhhh-Shit’s?
Thanks in advance
I would add that all that will be for naught if your health is bad.
The best thing I did was get in shape last year. I maintain it by working out and eating right. I walk at least 10 miles a week and get loads of exercise around the homestead.
I too will be retired when they kick dirt over me. It helps working for yourself.
I went for a checkup. The whole waiting room was filled with people my age and just a few years older. Most are overweight, can’t hardly walk with all these ailments and problems. Not a good way to spend your Golden Years!
My advice? Get in shape. Do it now. Start today. It took me almost a year spending 3 hours a day to get in fighting shape. Time well spent!! I hover around 175 and my BP is 116 over 72. Not bad for an old guy hitting 60!.
If I can do it so can you!
The very best retirement gift to give to yourself and your family…
You are another oldie like me who figured it out. Good for you :)
Sometimes retirement comes before you plan on it. My hubbie got hurt at work in 2005 at a job he had worked at for 35 years. It was the last day of his employment and he was 53 years old. He was offered early retirement two years later after being on workmans comp. At 55 he was able to collect 70% of his pension and qualified for disability. So…. we weren’t really ready to retire, but sometimes life has a way of going sideways.
We did fine because we were not in debt. Yes we owed a little but nothing serious. Our home was paid for, our vehicles paid for, and our RV too. But, we don’t have the savings we wish we did. Things wear out, teeth need work, life just happens. So you need to plan for the unexpected. We have a decent monthly income but our savings were pretty depleted before the social security came through.
Live below your means. Don’t go into debt for the new shiny stuff the rest of the sheeple have, you don’t need it. If SHTF, you will be living like you are retired whether you are ready or not. Have a deep pantry, you will never be sorry for that. Have hobbies that are inexpensive and you enjoy. Pretend you are going to live on your retirement budget right now and see how you fare. Plan, plan, plan!
Ah to have the gift of prophecy. We retired in 2000, all debts were paid, we invested well, bought 15 acres to build on and the dot com crash happened. Lost 1/2 of our retirement just like that. The best laid plans. We still built and traveled some, but more frugally.
We did retire early and I am glad. You never really plan to get sick, but the older we get the more it happens. And the older I get, the more I realize how unimportant “things” become and can easily do without. What is important is quality times with your spouse, friends children.
I don’t know what property taxes are like in the USA but here in Canada there is a great difference. When we lived in a small city a few years ago I think our taxes were about $1600 on a small house. We have a small rental house in a village which started out at $700 about 7 years ago & is now almost &1200 but right now does not have a renter. We now live on a 160 acre farm & the taxes are just over $400. Anyone retiring needs to look very carefully at the property taxes as they can quickly eat through your pension. The farm is rented out for $2120 and we also sell some firewood as well as supply our own needs. We have a large garden…Veg. & fruit. We don’t have large pensions but can live well but not extravagantly.
Property taxes wary widely in the US. Out in the puckerbrush taxes will be low, in more populated areas they can be and typically are a lot more. Here in Oregon they are assessed by the county with city taxes added in. The county that I live in has some of the highest in the US ranked at 430th out of 3143 counties and rising yearly. Hence part of the reason for my looking to relocate.
I live in a far off spot in NM and our taxes on 11 acres, a 2100 sq ft house, and 2 outbuildings is a little less than $500. Of course we don’t have any good services but it is a trade off.
My place is a lower value fixer upper and about 1000 sq ft. Taxes are running a little over $200 a month.
I live nearby aka so I can verify the high property tax within this state. (Oregon)
I have also talked to a lot of people that have relocated from Oregon to Washington or Idaho once they retire from working in Oregon. Seeking a state which presents a lower tax burden on retired folks and fixed income people is key once you retire from all employment. I am keeping my eyes open for that retirement destination though my wife loves our current house, neighborhood and living situation.
If she ain’t happy then nobody will be happy. Taxes in Oregon are still lower than in California where EVERYTHING was taxed. (The Left Coast equivalent of New Jersey)
I retired in June 04 but during the five year run up to retirement I tried to stack the deck in our favor as much as possible. I had a Galvalume metal roof installed on our log house. I had a wood heated, 40×46 insulated metal shop building with a 10×10 roll up door built and both of our heat pumps replaced. All of which was long paid off prior to my retirement date. I put back as much cash as I could and got all else possible in order before pulling the pin.
I worked a part time gig at the city where I’d retired from as their chief of police. By running for and winning two terms on the city council. This kept my hand in having a say about the police dept. Since I as the retired chief was placed in the position as city council liaison to the PD. Which meant that I could still be useful to my PD which I loved, by helping the guy who replaced me, who I also had a large part in choosing. Especially when it came to preparing for the annual budgetary wars in seeing that the PD was at least treated fairly.
By working the eight additional years past retirement by serving the two terms on the city council, also helped bring in a little extra money. Plus I could gradually decompress from my formerly high pressure job as the chief of police, so that I never had to say that I ever missed my job. Because I was in a sense still involved in running the department until I fully retired from public life at the end of 2012.
Hubby and I spent 2 yrs pre-retirement living at what we expected to live on in actual retirement. That was a huge help to realize how things would go.
Getting out of debt BEFORE retirement is an absolute must. I can not believe how many folks we’ve met that have tried to retire with a house note still on going.
Also feel so sorry for the ones who have wasted their lives spending everything they have and then they say “I’ll retire when I expire”
We did the “5 commandments” above and have a fulfilling retirement. Some RV travel, hubby has some side work with stagehands union, I have my fun hobbies and grandchildren to play with. Lots of volunteer time for the Lord’s work.
Life is good in my backyard.
Thanks Ken for the good article and everybody for their good advise !
So its probably a good idea that when you retire, you have a reliable vehicle that still has a long anticipated service life. Because having to replace it when living on a fixed income is pretty tough.
Good advice all around. The time to make plans for retirement is decades ahead of actual retirement. Too many young people don’t think about it at all. Some will open up a 401k or Ira and contribute, many wont. When they hit 50 or so, like me, that is when it starts to sink in.
I opened an IRA in my 20s, but took a massive hit in 2008 in that as well as losing a bunch of real estate as well. Essentially., I have been in a rebuilding mode and catch up mode.
Now that I have 13 years,2 weeks and 4 days until retirement, the plan is to save until it hurts, pay down my mortgage and replace it with a Reverse Mortgage when I get below 50% ltv, and put long term care insurance in place.
LTC insurance is an overlooked protection, and that’s really too bad. Most of us retiring in the next decade or two will need some sort of care in our last years and its a shame to spend your nest egg or lose your home to a state Medicare lien or nursing home lien. I’ve seen it happen in my profession.
Also, if your health is good and you like to travel, consider working in the national parks for the park concessionaire. If you can bring your own housing, like a travel trailer, you could find yourself working in Grand Canyon, Glacier, Gen Canyon or any other magnificent setting, living there, and having 6 months or more off in between seasons to go home or travel. Its a pretty good lifestyle for those retirees who can do that.
I worked for Aramark back in the 90s in a national recreation area. It was so fun, a seasonal, summer job turned into a 5 year adventure. Many of my coworkers were retired couples. The money wasn’t bad, in fact it could be great if you were a server, bartender, or bellman.