First Person: 5 Plans to Have in Place Before Retirement

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I still have plenty of time until retirement, but this doesn't mean I'm not planning for my golden years. And part of this planning includes breaking down my overall view of retirement into plan subsections.

I think that by having a plan for multiple aspects of my retirement future, I can get a better overall picture of what that future will look like. I hope that in the process, breaking down my larger overall plan will help me consider certain parts of my retirement a little better and vice versa.

Daily/Weekly Plan

Sure, there are plenty of us out there who would like to retire, but how many of us have actually thought about what this retirement will entail? Yeah, maybe the first few weeks or even couple of months might be filled with leisurely "do nothing" sort of days, but then what? I don't want to work hard to get to retirement only to waste it doing nothing.

While I don't want to be killing myself with work until the day I die, I also don't want my golden years to pass in a haze of boredom. This is where having a daily and weekly plan can come into play. Reviewing how I hope my typical retirement day and/or week will progress can help put some clarity to my retirement goals and expectations. Working in the mornings a couple times each week can leave me with feelings of productivity and accomplishment, a little extra income, and keep me busy. Spending an hour or two each afternoon gardening during the growing season can get me some exercise and save on food costs. Getting a feel for how I'd like these shorter timeframes to proceed can help clarify my longer-term retirement picture.

Expense Plan

An expense plan in retirement can be even more important than in pre-retirement living since income in my golden years may be limited. While I might still work part-time, I want to have a good idea of what sorts of expenses will come into play and in what amounts before I get into retirement full-time.

By outlining expenses before I get to retirement and then doing my best to account for possible additional expenses when it comes to health and medical costs, I will hopefully have a good handle on what my expenses will be so that it won't come as a shock once it's too late and I've already entered my golden years.

Income Plan

As I mentioned earlier, I'd like to work part-time in retirement. Having an additional income stream or two -- even if the amount such streams provides is relatively small -- can give me additional security in my retirement. And if nothing else, it could provide me with a bit more financial freedom when it comes to traveling or doing other things I might not have the funds to do otherwise.

I don't look at my retirement work as typical office type work. Even gardening to cut food costs or selling some produce at the local farmers market could be looked at as work, but could at the same time be something that I enjoy and earn or save me money. Having a few such income-earning activities and their associated estimated income amounts laid out before retirement could give me a good idea of where I could earn additional cash if or when I wanted to.

Travel Plan

I'm sure that I'm not alone when I say that I'd like to do a little traveling in retirement. But how much and what part of my budget those travels will play are questions I'd like to have answered before retirement.

Therefore, outlining what I'd like to see in a typical year's travel plan during retirement could help me find answers to these questions. Since I'm not a big overseas traveler, my trips will likely be domestic, which will save money. But I do like cruises, which could push my travel costs higher. And I'll have to determine whether there will be trips to visit the kids or if I'll live close to them in retirement. Answering these questions earlier rather than later can have both me and my finances better prepared before retirement arrives.

Estate Plan

Having a will is certainly part of my retirement estate plan; however, there is more to this plan than just a will. Before I get into retirement, I want to do things like ensure our debt is paid off, that the kids understand our assets and estate plan, and that our children are financially educated. This way, I feel comfortable as I age knowing that my children won't just inherit problems upon my retirement, but hopefully inherit assets which they will in turn be able to make smart decisions with.

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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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