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Planning for retirement is so much more than making sure you have enough money to afford the lifestyle you want to have. If you’re getting ready to retire in the next few years, you should sit down and think about what your days will be like and how you’ll spend your time in retirement. The truth is, retirement is different for everyone and it’s important to take some time to envision what life will be like beyond the workplace.

A financial advisor can help you clarify your intended lifestyle during retirement – not just your budget. Here are four things to consider when planning for retirement:

How will you spend your time?

It’s common to think of retirees spending their days fishing and golfing. However, when you plan for retirement, it’s time to think about what you really want to do from day to day. How do you want to spend your time?

Maybe you’ll work part-time, maybe you’ll spend time volunteering, or maybe you’ll pick up a new hobby. However you ultimately choose to spend your time, it’s important to plan for those activities if they cost money or even generate income.

Can you afford to maintain your current lifestyle?

It’s no secret that retirement requires a lifestyle adjustment – your outlook on both time and money will change and this needs to be taken into account. Financial capital will support the life you want to have during retirement, not the other way around. That’s why the money conversations need to start with your lifestyle.

According to MarketWatch it’s important to take time to prepare for issues that are nonfinancial: “Most people think of retirement in strictly financial terms, focusing on facts and numbers. A successful retirement has very little to do with the things most people think about. Money is only a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. (Retirement is the) time in life where you get to do what you want to do, rather than what you have to do.”

Will you maintain your living arrangements?

Will you downsize in retirement? Maybe it’s not yet on your radar, but it’s important to think about your future living arrangements. For some people, selling their home and moving to a smaller space is no big deal. For others, it’s hard to leave the home where you’ve lived for several decades and where you raised your family.

Since your income will change during retirement, it’s important to talk with a financial advisor about your plans and discuss what’s realistic – and affordable. If you do wish to stay in your current home or if you intend to relocate, it’s important to plan for the change.

Planning to travel?

People often have grand plans for retirement that include expensive activities like travelling the world. If travelling during retirement is on your list of things to do, be sure to speak with your financial advisor about the scope of the travel you have planned. It’s important to research costs, plan for unexpected expenses, and possibly even purchase travel insurance. Once the approximate costs are tallied and you’ve set a budget, you can then choose the most tax-efficient way to fund your travels.

If you’re planning to retire within the next five to seven years, it’s time to start thinking beyond the money. Contact me and let’s talk about how you can maximize your retirement lifestyle.

 

Brian Littlejohn is the Founder and CEO of Sherwood Investment Management, a fee-only financial advisor firm in Sonoma County, California. Brian is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(TM) professional who specializes in investment management. He holds a MBA and a Master’s Degree in Financial Analysis. He has over a decade of experience helping clients achieve their financial goals and occasionally teaches investing and financial planning courses as an adjunct professor.