How to practice for retirement [Financial Perspectives]

The idea of retirement often sounds appealing to folks, but many spend more time planning their vacations, or a car purchase, than planning for their retirement.  As a way to help get a sense for what retirement may be like, why not practice a bit before you actually jump in with both feet?

So, how would you go about trying to do this?

First, spend some time preparing a retirement budget to understand what your retirement income and expenses would be.  Then try to limit your spendable income to the amount of retirement income you will expect to receive (to estimate your Social Security income, you can use the annual statement you should have received in the mail).  This will give you a good sense of how much money you will have coming in and how much you may have to supplement from your retirement savings, if your expenses exceed your income.

Second, think about what you would like to do during retirement – traveling, taking an art class, spending more time with your grandchildren, etc.  Once you have this nailed down, schedule some vacation and test drive this activity.  See what if feels like doing this activity and think about what it would feel like to do this knowing that you would not be returning to work after the week or two weeks are up.

If you intend to work part-time in retirement, give some thought as to what you would do and who you may work for.  You may even want to do some probing with some of these prospective employers now (as long as it will not negatively impact you in your current role).  If your schedule permits, you could even take on this part-time job now to see if you really like it.  These steps may seem silly to some, but they are a good way to test drive your retirement.

Dissatisfaction in retirement is stems from a number of things and chief among them is the lack planning and truly envisioning what you want your retired life to be.

Good luck with your planning!

The views expressed are not necessarily those of Cambridge and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any security.

Jim Heisler, CFP®, CDFA™, CASL™ Family Wealth Services, LLC 8725 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19136 215-332-4968

Jim Heisler is a Certified Financial Planner with Family Wealth Services in Holmesburg. You can read all his Financial Perspective columns here.

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