Retirement is something to which almost every member of the working population looks forward; it is a symbol of time spent, of freedom from the yoke of 9-5 working and a new life to be lived on your own terms. But planning for it can be, understandably, a stressful endeavour. What can you do ahead of retirement to ensure you are on the best possible footing?
Evaluate Your Financial Situation
First and foremost, you will need to carefully consider your financial situation. No two retirements look the same, and your financial needs may differ from those of others – but this makes it all the more important that you understand your current financial standing and the options available to you for retirement.
You will likely already have a private employer-backed pension, as well as personal savings you can put towards your retirement. But are these enough for you to maintain your present standard of living? It might be worth considering financial options like equity release to subsidise your savings, utilising your home to shore up your cash holdings and afford key expenses.
Set Some Retirement Goals
Your retirement planning will benefit greatly from the setting of goals. Goals give structure and purpose, and ensure you avoid the pitfall of acting aimlessly in service of a nebulous end-result. Your goal might be as simple as a flat savings figure, being a ‘safe’ value on which you can relax in retirement. Alternatively, you might have a more specific aim to move to a new area, or settle in a downsized property. But your goals should not centre solely around the mechanics of your retirement.
While financial security is absolutely key to the full-throated enjoyment of your life after work, it is also crucial that you give some time to thinking about more positive life goals; a retirement guided entirely by financial shrewdness and anxiety is by no means an enjoyable one. You might wish to travel more, or to make regular efforts to see more family. You might even seek to pick up a new hobby or interest – all of which, of course, could feed back in to your planning efforts and budgeting.
Build Healthy Habits
An excellent way to entrench a positive attitude to retirement is by starting to form positive habits ahead of your retirement. This is just as true holistically as it is financially. In the same way that you can build positive savings habits to reinforce your retirement expenditure, you can start to integrate habits that promote physical and mental health – keeping you in the best possible shape for the rest of your life.
These might include starting a regular exercise regimen, adopting a sensible, casual new diet or even resolving to meditate once a day. Whatever you choose, keeping at it even ahead of retirement can set you up well for the decades to come.
Research suggests that retirees have better mental and physical health than those who continue to work, in part because they have more time to pursue healthy activities and hobbies, and have less stress in their lives. With the right planning, your retirement should feel invigorating and empowering.