In Your 60s? Don’t Forget to Prepare for the Long Haul
Few retirees want to think about things like downsizing, moving, or even cleaning out the garage. After all, this is the moment you’ve been working towards for so long – you probably deserve to get out there and enjoy it!
But this is a time where it can pay to put in a little extra legwork. Here’s what you can do to prepare for the long haul – and why you should do it now.
Clean – or even move!
There’s an unpleasant retirement issue that you really need to consider at some point: mobility. If you’re still enjoying the family home, now is a good time to think through what you want out of it and how to achieve it – without too much strain in the future.
If you’re planning on staying put indefinitely, consider cleaning. Everything.
That includes clearing the garage, addressing whatever is lurking in the attic, and tackling any maintenance work that might present an issue later on. The idea is to give yourself the flexibility to move more easily later (if needed) and to free up space and stuff so you can enjoy your home now.
Cleaning also gives you the chance to see any potential practical risks with your home as-is. Will those stairs get a bit tough to manage later? Is your shower relatively small? What would make your home more livable for an 80-year old?
Staying put means thinking through some of the long-term changes that you might need to make to create a comfortable living situation that can accommodate changing needs. That might mean thinking through a bathroom remodel, adding a ramp instead of a step, or even moving the master bedroom.
Now obviously: no one wants to think about losing mobility, especially not at the beginning of their retirement. But mobility restrictions are a fact of life for many retirees: you might as well deal with the possibility before it imposes significant stress on you and your lifestyle.
Clean up your paperwork
Now that you’re retired, you might also want to go through and organize your files.
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Consider organizing the following:
- Your bank account information and statements
- Any documents relating to credit cards, mortgages, or loans
- Your insurance policy documents and records
- All investment account records
- Any deeds or documentation on other properties or assets
- Your estate plan, including will or trust documents, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives
Knowing what you have and keeping it organized doesn’t just benefit you: a cleaned up and clear-cut plan for your finances will make it easier if you or your spouse run into health troubles, or if one of your kids has to step in to help down the line.
But organizing also gives you an opportunity for reflection. Now that you’re retired, you might find that your financial needs have changed: maybe there’s an insurance policy you don’t need (or do need), or perhaps you discover that it’s high time to update your estate plan. Get these ducks in a row today, and help ensure that your retirement finances are as robust as they can be.
One mistake we often see among new retirees is a willingness to make new, potentially expensive, commitments. These run the gamut of course, and the suitability of a particular commitment depends on the individual situation involved.
But generally speaking, while downsizing into a new home as a new retiree might make sense, expanding one’s real estate holdings with new mortgages might not.
New debts, large investments in a friend’s business, or the gift of a down payment for a child’s house might seem within reach when you’ve just retired and can see the full extent of your liquid assets. But keep in mind that this money needs to last you a very long time: it might simply not be worth the risk.
Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to make a decision – or to say no.
We encountered a situation like this recently with one of our clients.
Carrie, a single mother, worked incredibly hard throughout her life to give her daughter a great start and a solid education. Carrie also made her retirement savings a priority and managed to build a solid foundation for her golden years.
Carrie just retired a year ago and has been loving life as a grandma while pursuing her lifelong interest of painting. But recently, Carrie came in to our office and asked her advisor about making a significant change: she wanted help put money towards her son-in-law’s business.
She adores her son-in-law and believes in him – so why shouldn’t she help?
We walked through the idea, the amount of money required, and showed Carrie the numbers. It was clear that while Carrie could technically “afford it” right now, removing that amount of savings from her account could also pose significant risks later. The money would, of course, be paid back – if the business is successful.
If it’s not, it’s a sum that she would lose, and one that could make a big difference to her retirement security.
All that is to say, staying flexible is a worthy goal.
Aside from your usual lifestyle expenses and needs, retirement can come with additional surprises: health scares, rising insurance costs, unexpected moves.
Rather than hope for the best and being overly optimistic, we typically suggest taking a more conservative view. Plan around the risks you might face in your life, and the financial implications of those risks.
After all, you’ve spent all these years preparing for a secure retirement. Don’t lose your momentum now.
Are you fully ready for retirement?
Financial flexibility is an important part of retirement planning, but it isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. Download our free guide to transitioning into retirement to help make sure you’re ready. Your Retirement Transition Plan covers all the major points you need to address before you take the leap, from health to housing, insurance to investment.
Click here to download Your Retirement Transition Plan free today!
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