When you think about the ultimate retirement dream, what do you see? Do you see yourself spending your days playing rounds of golf, working on your tan on a tropical beach somewhere, enjoying a never-ending vacation of bliss and happiness…this is the retirement dream that has been painted by many in the financial services industry. There’s just a few problems with this picture.
It is an illusion - most human beings are truly happy when they’re busy doing what they love (whether that is something they are paid to do or not!).
“The reason retirement is difficult for so many: retirement as it has been defined for us was never meant to be!' - Mitch Anthony
This picture, painted by the financial services (or savings) industry, is also unrealistic. It requires us to have multiple millions of dollars by the age of 65, waiting to fund our lifestyle.
Many of us cannot afford to retire in the manner that has been promised to us by the retirement savings industry, but even more importantly, many of us don’t need that level of savings in order to have the retirement of our dreams!
The problem is we have been sold a goal that has been defined by someone else, rather than by each of us, individually! The solution is to create a retirement that is unique to you! Here are three keys that will support you in doing just that.
#1: Enjoying the retirement of you dreams begin with YOU, not your nest egg
What difference will all of your financial planning for retirement make if you have no idea what kind of life you want to purchase with your financial resources?
That is why the first key to enjoying the retirement of your dreams is getting clear on what is most important to you and the vision that you have for this incredible stage of life.
It is about taking the time to create a vision for what you want the rest of your life to look like and to consider what is most important to you in this next stage of life. This begins with asking yourself some powerful questions, including:
How do you want to spend your time in retirement?
What will you do with your newfound freedom?
How do you want to invest in yourself during this stage of life?
Asking yourself deeper questions help you to answer the question: What is the money for?
Spend 30 minutes this week to write out your vision for retirement. If you have a spouse or partner, encourage them to do the same and then come together to share your visions with each other.
#2. Understanding your financial health over time by forecasting your future needs and goals
What do I mean by forecast for future needs and goals? I mean having a projection of your income and lifestyle costs from the start of your retirement out to age 100. Yes this will require some estimates and assumptions, but planning for the duration of your retirement years helps you to get a clear picture of your financial health over time and understand your long term cash flow needs.
So what are some of the numbers you need to have in order to understand your long term financial health?
Your sources of income - when you will receive them (monthly, quarterly, annually) and how they are taxed;
Your annual lifestyle costs - this includes your monthly expenses and also non-monthly expenses that you have throughout the year. For example, vacations or holiday gift giving;
‘Big ticket items’ you’ll want to plan for in retirement - home renos, new vehicles, larger vacations, larger medical expenses, nursing care (later in life).
Many people fail to take this important step and quickly learn that they are spending ahead of their resources and putting themselves at risk further down the retirement road. But that does not have to be you!
Take the time to understand what your retirement income sources will be, the lifestyle you want to enjoy and what it will cost you throughout the year. Consider how you will plan for the ‘bigger ticket items.’ Put these down on paper or in an Excel Spreadsheet. Ideally, you want to take these numbers and create a long term forecast for your retirement years. This helps you see your cash flow needs and any obvious holes that need to be patched. For example, maybe you recognize that your current vehicle will not last you the next 25 to 30 years, so you will want to plan for several new vehicles during your retirement years. Or maybe you realize that you want to do most of your international traveling as soon as you retire, so that will require extra cash flow during the early years of retirement.
#3. Create a personalized annual retirement forecast to guide your day-to-day money decisions.
This is not a budget! It is not meant to be a restrictive rule book, but rather a guide to help you understand the cash you have coming in (retirement income sources) and the cash you have going out (retirement lifestyle and bigger costs) and to support your day-to-day money decisions in retirement.
If you are not yet retired, knowing your current lifestyle costs is a great foundation for understanding what your retirement lifestyle costs will be, likely with a few adjustments!
Key elements you want to include in your annual forecast are:
Income sources (cash coming in) - government pensions, company pensions, personal investment income, employment or business income;
Monthly lifestyle costs - housing, transportation, daily living, Groceries/Eating out, Hobbies & interests, pet care;
Non-monthly lifestyle costs - holiday gift giving, vacations, vehicle registration;
Any bigger ticket items you plan to purchase in the current year - home renos, medical expenses.
It is not enough just to have this forecast, you want to be using it to actually guide your financial decision making.
Look at the actual income you receive and spending you incur each month and see how it aligns with your forecast. Are there any adjustments you need to make to stay aligned with your forecast? If you are new to checking in with your income and spending, I recommend you start by doing this weekly to create a strong money habit.
This is about having a CLEAR PICTURE of your daily, weekly and monthly cash flow, so your money stays aligned with what is most important to you and the retirement needs and goals that you have!
Commit to using your forecast, as a guide, when making day-to-day financial decisions.
You can also check in with your forecast BEFORE you make a financial decision to see how it will line up with your cash flow. (Example: cheap plane tickets for a holiday later this year, check in with your forecast, do you have the extra cash flow to purchase the tickets this month?)
It is really that easy...to truly live the retirement of your dreams, you must embrace these three keys.
Looking for support, so you can confidently embrace this incredible stage of life and live YOUR dream retirement? Lets connect! I love supporting individuals and couples as they plan for and transition into the retirement of their dreams.