Putting It All Together Before Retiring

by Jeff C. Johnson

Man and woman planning using computer

I haven’t retired, and I don’t plan to; maybe I never will, if I can pull it off. So, what do I know about retirement?

For nearly four decades I’ve worked with, counseled, and watched hundreds (maybe thousands) of people as they stepped into “life after work,” which is commonly called retirement. Sometimes it’s awesome; sometimes it isn’t all that they hoped it to be. Over the years, I got better at helping people consider their life after leaving the workforce before they left the workforce.

Everyone knows someone who has retired and for whom everything is going great, or so it seems. Sometimes these folks just grin and bear it. Others hit a huge speed bump. Some even suffer physically a short time after leaving the workforce.

How can you prepare for retirement, more than just rolling over your 401(k) into an IRA and claiming Social Security retirement benefits?

Here are five pretty tough assignments. If you can put pen to paper and come up with answers, you’re on your way.

  1. Plan your life and your lifestyle. Write down three or more activities that you will do every day when you are no longer working.
  2. Identify a big thing you want to achieve. Write down one specific, big, “rest-of-life” accomplishment that you intend to achieve. (What can you envision working on for the rest of your life and being totally and completely absorbed in?)
  3. Define multiple streams of income that will give you financial confidence. What are the significant income streams you can rely on to meet your financial needs?
  4. Figure out what could go wrong. Write down all the things that could block you from a happy life. Then consider if you can buy insurance or otherwise eliminate or offset these risks in advance.
  5. Get a really good team of advisers that can work together for you. Write down the names of trusted advisers who can make your life easier. Do they know each other?

These questions are in the last chapter of my book The Extreme Retirement Planning Workbook, which is for sale on this website at the bargain price of $11.95.