People often view retirement as just one more stage of life.
But that’s not exactly the case. Retirement isn’t just one stage; it’s at least three – although all three do share something in common.
Every stage of retirement requires planning. Otherwise, you could end up running out of money, or your health might take a turn for the worse and negatively impact your retirement savings because you hadn’t planned for it in those early years of retirement.
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It’s not easy to put exact ages on each of the three stages of retirement. That likely will vary from person to person, depending on their finances, health and family situation.
Stage one is about adjusting to a new lifestyle. Many new retirees brim with excitement when retirement begins. They can golf, visit museums, play with their grandchildren, travel or catch up on their reading.
Not everyone adjusts well, though. It’s not easy to flip the switch overnight after you’ve spent several decades reporting to work every day. Also, if your retirement income is largely dependent on your savings, you’ll want to be careful that you don’t spend too much in those initial years. Your financial professional should be able to help you come up with a plan that will give you income for life so you don’t have to worry about running out of money.
Stage two concerns staying socially connected. As the years pass, many retirees move closer to their children or move into a retirement community because it makes them feel more socially connected. Sometimes at this point, especially if they haven’t planned well, people may start to have even more worries that they will outlive their money. One way they address that is to cut back on expenses. Some people even decide to get a part-time job to bring in extra cash, and working then becomes another way to stay connected.
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Stage three is when you realize you may need assistance. More than 70 percent of Americans older than 65 will need some form of long-term care at some point, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When people map out their retirement, they need to plan for that possibility because the cost of long-term care can be devastating to your finances.
People need to consider a number of factors – taxes, longevity and market risks, among others – to improve the odds of a joyful retirement. In each stage of retirement, it’s important to confer regularly with your advisor and to be ready to adjust your financial plans if necessary.
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Jack Teboda, president and founder of Teboda & Associates, has more than 35 years experience helping people pursue financial independence through personalized investment strategies.
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