You’ve worked and saved for decades, and at last, retirement has arrived. Just like other milestone events, like having a baby or launching a business, there are many surprises along the way. The way to make the most of your retirement, says The Motley Fool, is described in the article “5 Retirement Tips for 2019—and Beyond.”
For starters, don’t center your retirement finances on Social Security. Many workers can’t or don’t set aside enough funds for their retirement. They think that they’ll be able to rely on Social Security. Doing so will put a tight crimp on your retirement lifestyle. Social Security’s average yearly benefit for most Americans is $17,532. If you can live on that, wonderful, but most people can’t. The program was designed to replace 40% of most people’s income, and most seniors need more than double that amount to live, as they did during their working years. Focus on retirement savings throughout your career.
Most retirement income is taxable. The things you paid taxes on while you were working, are still taxable when you retire. If you’re used to receiving deductions on a paycheck, having to pay quarterly taxes may be a bit of a surprise. You will need to pay taxes on IRA or 401(k) withdrawals, unless your retirement savings are all in Roth accounts. Gains from investments held in non-retirement accounts are also subject to taxes. If you can convert your IRAs or 401(k)s into Roth’s, you’ll pay taxes when you do the conversion, but not on the withdrawals.
Try to retire with friends and family. The sad truth is, retirees are 40% more likely to become depressed than working people. If that doesn’t make sense to you, consider the social aspects of your working life. Having too much time on your hands can lead to boredom and restlessness. You want to make sure that you have friends or family members who are also retired to socialize with. If no one else in your circle is ready or willing to retire, what will you do every day after the initial two-month retirement honeymoon?
Keep an open mind about returning to work. No matter how well you’ve saved, life happens. Your home may need a major repair, or you or a spouse might experience a health crisis. It’s a good idea to have a plan to be able to return to work, either on a consulting basis to a prior employer, working part time or even starting a business on your own.
Don’t skimp on the important details, like preparing your estate plan. If you created an estate plan years ago, now is the time to review it to make sure it still works for your retirement life. If you’ve never had a will prepared, call a qualified estate planning attorney and get it done. You’ll also need a power of attorney and a health care proxy, so that your family and your spouse are protected in the event of anything unexpected happening to you.
Finally, ask yourself what you want to do with the next ten or twenty years of your life. Retirement can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience, especially if you are pursuing your dreams. That might be going fishing every day, writing a novel or dedicating yourself to grandchildren or the community. Embrace it!
Reference: The Motley Fool (June 2, 2019) “5 Retirement Tips for 2019—and Beyond”