Now that the Super Bowl is over, and the football season is finished, we can now finally get back to looking forward to football season.
And, of course, the commercials! (Which this year seemed a little … “ok” — though I think I will have dreams of that Doberhuaha for a while.)
Anyway, you may have heard that tax season has officially “begun”. Well, when we sit down with a tax preparation client during tax season, we are picking through history — we are helping you sort through your 2013 information, and make sure that the numbers match … AND, of course, that YOU are able to take advantage of every possible legal and ethical method to hold on to your hard-earned dollars (or sometimes receive a nice bump in your supply from a refundable tax credit).
But we also like to spend time future-casting.
That means that we get to be the ones who dream with you — the ones (beside you and your spouse) who focus not just on accurately recording “history” but also about the real-world implications for what life will look like down the road.
When we do this, it makes me wonder if financial counselors do the same thing with retirement?
In fact, I know that some of them do.
But, on the chance that your particular financial planner only pays attention to the numbers, and doesn’t help you evaluate some of the other components of your retirement situation, here’s a few ideas for some practical things you can do.
Would you add anything to this list? I’d be interested in your comments…
“Real World” Personal Strategy Note
Take A Test Drive Of Your Retirement Plans
“It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go.” -Bob Proctor
People over 40 shouldn’t just plan for retirement, they should rehearse for it. Because retirement can last 20 to 30 years, it’s more important than ever that “pre-retirees” (those who plan to retire in five to seven years) practice how they want to live without work as the organizational focus of their lives:
Try out different retirement lifestyles
For example, many people dream of selling the family home and traveling in an RV or going abroad. Practice this by renting a camper and going on the road for a long vacation. You may discover that travel is exhausting or boring to you.
The same holds true for relocation dreams. Rent a home where you think you may want to retire to see if it really is where you’d like to move. The weather may not suit you, or the community may not be your cup of tea. Work out these details before you commit to an expensive change.
Live with your spouse 24 hours a day
Most couples spend much of their early years working and, thus, spending much of their time apart. It may take some time to get used to the other person’s schedule, habits, and routines.
Practice living on that retirement budget.
Most retirees’ income is significantly less than their preretirement income. Add up all the Social Security benefits, pension income, and 401(k) and IRA savings to calculate what you can realistically expect to live on each month. Then live on that amount for a month to determine what changes, if any, you need to make to your plans.
I hope this all helps! To your family’s financial and emotional peace, Christy…
Valerie McLaughlin, EA