How to phase into retirement and take it for a test drive
There are many reasons why people who could retire are worried about adapting to retirement. Some people think they need to wait until they’re 65 or older. Some are worried about running out of money. Many parents want to keep supporting their children through some major life transition – for instance university, marriage or buying their first home, and don’t want to quit full time work until after their children have reached this milestone.
However, perhaps the most common reason we see for a retirement delay is people who just can’t imagine their lives without work. That’s understandable. A routine that’s sustained you and your family for 30 or 40 years is never going to be easy to shake.
But retirement doesn’t have to be all or nothing right away. If just thinking about retiring makes you jittery, use these tips to ease into retirement a little at a time.
1. Talk to your family.
Clear, open communication is an essential first step to approaching retirement. Be as honest as possible about what you’re feeling. Try to discuss what worries you about retirement? What excites you? What do you envision your days being like? Where do you want to live? If you have a significant other in your life, what does your spouse or partner want their retirement life to be like?
Talking about your retirement worries will help you think them through with clarity.
2. Talk to your employer.
Some companies have established programmes to help longtime employees transition into retirement. You might be able to trim back your hours gradually to get an idea of what days without working will be like. You’re also going to want to double-check how any retirement benefits you may have are going to work. Discuss any large outstanding projects with your supervisor. Make a plan to finish what’s important to you so that you can leave your job feeling accomplished.
If you’re self-employed, you’ll have even greater control over the process. It might be worth taking on less hours and fewer clients.
Update your succession plan and start giving your company’s next leader more of your responsibilities ahead of retirement. Make sure you have the absolute best people working for you in key leadership positions so that your company can keep prospering without your daily involvement.
3. Make a “rough draft” of your retirement schedule.
What are you passionate about? What are some hobbies you’d like to develop into a skilled craft? Do you want to get serious about working the kinks out of your golf swing or build up the miles on your road bike? Are there household projects, repairs or upgrades you want to tend to? New things you want to try? New places you want to visit? Grandchildren or family you want to see more often? We imagine you have a few…
Try filling out a calendar with some of your answers to these questions. As you start to scale back your work hours, take a few lessons or volunteer shifts. Sign up for a class. Perhaps take a short holiday to get a little space to think about what you want to do. See what appeals to you and what doesn’t.
Remember, you don’t have to get your retirement lifestyle right the first time! A successful retirement will involve some trial and error. Learn from things you don’t like and make a point to spend more time doing the things you do like.
4. Review your finances.
This is where 1st Chartered comes in!
Once you and your spouse have settled on a shared vision for retirement, we can help you create a financial plan to help ensure you are financially fit for your retirement. We’ll go through all of your sources of income, retirement accounts, pensions, savings and other investments to lay out a projection of where your money is coming from and where it’s going.
We will think about all aspects of your situation and collaborate with you on the best course of action. You don’t have to face retirement alone and make big decisions without expert guidance. If you are dreaming of those days when work is optional, give us a call and we can help you through this phase of life.