You worked 20, 30 or more years in your chosen career. You decide it is time to retire.
The planning process begins by calling Social Security to figure out what your monthly payment will be. You look at your expenses to see if your monthly cash flow will be sufficient. If not, you determine how much of your IRA or portfolio assets you may need to withdraw. You talk with your HR administrator to see what benefits you are eligible for and how to sign up for them.
If you are fortunate, your co-workers may throw you a retirement party to thank you for your service and to wish you well. Once the celebrations conclude you begin to think about the rest of your life, even what you will do during the first week.
Retiring “cold turkey” can take some getting used to – especially if you are single, widowed or divorced. Women in these categories may have a more challenging transition, since they are doing it alone. As you evaluate your situation consider some of the following questions:
Are you an active person who enjoys being with other people? Do you like to dine out? Do you like to work-out, play golf or tennis? Do you like to travel? Or do you enjoy going to the theater or plays?
Whatever your preferences are, take the time to write some of these things down and then formulate plans to participate in the activity on a frequent basis. Creating a little structure in your day can help you overcome some of the work withdrawal symptoms you may experience. It may also help to keep you mentally stimulated.
Just as a side note: if you are not someone who has worked out much, I would highly encourage you to think about starting some type of physical fitness regimen. Weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise have been proven to be beneficial even for people in their 90s. It is never too late to get in shape.
Retirement can also be a great time to re-engage with friends that you may not have been able to spend a lot of time with. Give them a call and plan to get together for lunch or dinner. This can also be a great time to spend with your grandchildren or nephews and nieces. Find out when they are playing in their next game, dance recital or school concert. I am sure they will appreciate your taking the time to come out and see them participating in their activity.
If you have a particular skill that you would like to maintain, see if you can find an organization to volunteer with. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer in the Philadelphia area – hospitals, social services organizations, schools and charities. Many of them are understaffed due to budget cuts and would love the help.
If none of the above appeals to you, maybe you can back to college to finish or start towards a degree. It won’t be cheap to do this, but if money is not an issue, it can be very fulfilling.
Finally, if you are afraid of boredom setting in, maybe full retirement will not be for you. Rather than retiring “cold turkey,” explore opportunities to work on a part-time basis. You existing employer may allow you to work a reduced schedule. If not, do some research to see if you can find an employer who may need someone with your skillset. Older workers usually make good employees as they are very dependable and dedicated to whatever they do.
Jim Heisler is a Certified Financial Planner with Family Wealth Services in Holmesburg. You can read all his Financial Perspective columns here.
Registered Representative, Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., A Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC and Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisor. Family Wealth Services, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated.
Jim Heisler, CFP®, CDFA™, CASL™
Family Wealth Services, LLC
8725 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19136