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Retirement Happened - Now What?

Retirement is a big change for most people. You’ve spent decades working and planning for it but until the day comes, retirement is just an abstract concept in comparison to your current routine.

Once the reality of retirement sets in, it can seem a bit overwhelming. Many of the touchstones of daily life (the schedule you keep, the people you see, and daily responsibilities) are upended. While it can take time to adjust to this change, the world is your oyster. Whether you want to travel, relax with family, or take up new hobbies, you have the time to do it.

To maximize your retirement, you’ll still need planning and preparation. In this article, we’ll cover some of the major lifestyle changes you’re experiencing and how to navigate them.

Preparing for a New Stage of Life - Key Steps

After adult lives of structure and routine built around work and other obligations, the freedom of retirement is a momentous shift. At first, it might feel like a vacation—you can sleep in and spend the day doing absolutely nothing—but for most, it eventually leads to a new, refocused routine.

However, this new routine centers on what matters to you and what retirement lifestyle you desire. Perhaps you want to travel frequently, driving an RV around the country or taking international trips every few months. Maybe you want to spend more time with your grandkids and family. Or you could dedicate more time to the hobbies you’ve always enjoyed.

While the choice is yours, you still need to make adjustments with your loved ones in mind. This is especially true of retirees with a partner. Whether that partner is also retired or still working, it’s important to communicate openly and honestly. Discuss what you want out of retirement, how you want to spend your time, and ensure that you’re both comfortable with changes in routine and lifestyle.

Maintaining a Social Network

You probably spent most of your adult life saving to ensure you’d have enough financial wealth for retirement. That’s important, of course, but it’s not the only thing that matters. You also need to keep tabs on your social wealth.

Remaining socially active in retirement is extremely important. Studies have shown that it can help maintain cognitive function, improve your mood, and is associated with other healthy behaviors like regular exercise. Socialization can be challenging when you first retire. Perhaps your old coworkers were your primary social circle, or maybe you see your friends less often due to incompatible schedules.

Social circles change throughout life, and retirement is the perfect time to make new friends:

  • Find people with similar hobbies and interests to share regularly
  • If you’re a traveler, look into group trips and networks of like-minded individuals
  • Consider going back to school, whether it’s to pursue an unfinished degree or take classes for fun

Fulfilling Your Healthcare Needs

Healthcare costs have been steadily rising for years and the trend shows no signs of slowing. Ensuring that you have access to ongoing healthcare is one of the core components of a comfortable and secure retirement.

For most retirees, Medicare is the centerpiece of their healthcare planning. Every American is eligible for Medicare once they turn 65, but you still need to enroll. Additionally, you need to decide what coverage is right for you. Most people are automatically enrolled in Parts A and B, but other options like Parts C and D, or even Medigap coverage from a private insurance company, might be a good fit. 

It’s also important to review any long-term care you might need later in retirement. Standard health insurance doesn’t typically cover this, so it’s critical to plan ahead and make sure you have coverage in place before you need it.

Sticking to a Financial Plan

You spent decades planning, saving, and building a comfortable nest egg to fund your retirement. In retirement, the planning doesn’t end, but it changes from accumulation to distribution.

Making sure your retirement savings last involves careful planning on several topics:

  • Set a budget including both your basic living costs and luxury spending and stick to it.
  • Take your required minimum distributions to avoid unnecessary taxes and penalties.
  • If you have multiple types of retirement accounts, use the tax triangle to maximize your savings and minimize your tax burden.
  • Develop a plan on when you’re going to start taking Social Security benefits and how it will impact withdrawals from other retirement accounts.
  • If you’re unsure whether you have sufficient savings or want to take on a post-retirement job to stay active, consider the impact the income will have on your taxes and Social Security plans.

Projecting how long your savings will last in the face of inflation, deciding on optimal withdrawal and tax strategies, and tying all of your plans together can be daunting. If you need assistance with your financial planning, consider working with a fiduciary advisor. A fiduciary financial advisor is legally obligated to always act in their clients’ best interests, so you can trust them to help you plan for a comfortable and fulfilling retirement.

Looking for more tips on how to stay active and financially secure in retirement? Download a copy of Retirement Secrets: Keys to Retiring Happy, Healthy, & Free today!

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For informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as specific investment, accounting, legal, or tax advice. Certain information is based upon third-party data which may become outdated or otherwise superseded without notice. Third-party information is deemed to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Indices are unmanaged baskets of securities and are not available for direct investment. Their performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio nor do indices represent results of actual trading. Information from sources deemed reliable, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results. Total return includes reinvestment of dividends and capital gains. Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nor any other federal or state agency have approved, determined the accuracy, or confirmed the adequacy of this article. By clicking on any of the links above, you acknowledge that they are solely for your convenience, and do not necessarily imply any affiliations, sponsorships, endorsements, or representations whatsoever by us regarding third-party websites. Wealth Legacy Institute is not responsible for the content, availability, or privacy policies of these sites, and shall not be responsible or liable for any information, opinions, advice, products, or services available on or through these third-party websites. The opinions expressed by featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of Wealth Legacy Institute®.

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