The alarm clock buzzes, it’s 6 AM and time to get up for work. Your trip into the city is a long one. If your driving it’s survival of the fittest. If you’re using public transportation then maybe you’re just dreaming of the day when this whole rat race thing will end.
As the work day lingers on, whether it be meetings on top of meetings, a never ending list of emails to read and respond to, or a job jar so full, you’re ready to simply surrender. But then your mind will occasionally wonder to that ultimate day when you will finally have a stress free life.
However, dreaming about leaving the work place for some kind of retirement is one thing. Being able to take action on that dream is a whole other matter. In fact for many, that decision to retire is one filled with uncertainties and actual fear. Procrastination will tend to creep in. Perhaps the most important issue that rises to the top of the “fear list” is how can one afford to retire and maintain a decent standard of living? How long is one even able to live and enjoy that stress free life? Could one actually outlive their retirement income stream? All legitimate concerns.
Fear of the Unknown
Actually the first fear that one always seems to deal with is our mortality. We all know we only have so much time on this wonderful planet and we need to use that precious time wisely. When I mention the word retirement I am absolutely not talking about old age nursing home life. I am talking about a whole new chapter in your life. A chapter where one can recharge and be the person you always wanted to be. I am talking about making every day count for something. I will post more on that subject in the future, but for now, let us deal with the financial affordability concern with retiring and recharging.
The best way to alleviate the fear of retiring is to perform some rudimentary research on what’s really involved. There are hundreds of websites that deal strictly with the affordability question. There are a few good books on the subject as well. I particularly liked the book by Charles Schwab – You’re Fifty – Now What?.
If you are fortunate to have earned a pension, then “Hello Pension, Goodbye Tension”. There are so many retirement calculators out there, all you need to do is “Google” it. The bottom line is everything depends on how much you have saved, how much you’re going to inherit or how much your defined benefit pension will be worth at retirement. When I performed my research into the whole affordability question, I could not believe how many so called experts had differing views on what’s actually required. I mean 60%-80% of your current income. Come on, that’s a huge range to factor in. If you are or have been saving for your retirement, I cannot stress enough the importance of engaging a trusted Financial Planner/Advisor to help manage your money. Manage it, or it will manage you!
I found the best tool to determine whether one could afford to retire, whether it be early or later, was to simply develop a monthly income vs. expense budget. Thankfully several expenses can or will be eliminated once working life ceases and retirement begins.
In today’s fast changing corporate world, several companies are offering early retirement incentives. The decision to retire early is not an easy one. It’s one thing to answer the affordability question, but what about the lifestyle after retirement. What on earth does one do to stay active and healthy? I highly recommend reading Ernie Zelinski’s book, “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”. This book is filled with lots of tips to help you keep active and to live every day stress free.
The Honey Do List
I remember when I first retired and everyone warned me that just wait until your spouse gives you the dreaded “Honey Do List”. Well it turns out that list will likely contain a job jar that only lasts about 4 months. OK, then what?
After completing all of my “Honey Do List” in about 2 months, I decided to look for a part-time job. There are lots of part-time jobs for the semi-retired – again just “Google” it. But I certainly did not want to re-create another stressful part-time job situation. After all, I was pleased to leave that life behind. After thinking about several job opportunities, I decided my true passion was to get away from an office job and to work outside in the fresh air. I applied to be a greens keeper at a local golf course. After all, I was already used to getting up early for the long commute into work. This golf course was only 10 minutes away.
What a weird feeling it was, having to develop a resume for a job I had absolutely no experience with. After handing in my resume, I was called the next day for a job interview, sitting outside on a picnic bench where the golf superintendent asked me a few questions and boom, I was hired. To make a long story short, I worked at that golf course for 7 years, cutting greens, approaches, tee decks, changing hole locations on the green, top dressing the greens etc. I could not believe the joy I had, knowing that at the end of my shift, I could actually state clearly what I had achieved. Amazing!
The transition from a working career to a part-time job made the whole process virtually seamless. I loved every minute of it. I highly recommend it for anyone who is thinking of retiring early.
Suggested Books to Read
How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie Zelinski
You’re Fifty – Now What? by Charles R. Schwab