You Are (Probably) Not Ready to Retire

by Jeff C. Johnson

Elderly man with hands crossed over cane

If you are reading this with interest, you’re probably not fully prepared for “life after work.”

Having worked in the financial world for most of four decades, I’ve had a front-row seat to what people do right regarding their finances, as well as to how they fail with their planning and investing. One way the latter can happen is this:

Most people are not fully prepared for retirement!

Even though they usually have 30 to 40 years or more to build wealth, plan for the future, and determine how they will spend their years after work, a lot of investors are not really ready.

There are many questions to be answered before retiring, but I have four broad areas that I explore with everyone who comes to me for retirement advice:

  • First, are you really ready to retire, in a nonfinancial sense? If you don’t have a solid vision of your life and lifestyle after work, don’t leave your job or career. Idea: Plan a long vacation and stay at home to “practice” retirement for a month or more.
  • Next, what will be your income sources for life? If you don’t have a written income plan, including how you will coordinate Social Security, required minimum distributions, and cash flow from your pension or company retirement plan, take a step back.
  • Third, how will you position (and reposition) your investment assets in cash, stocks, real estate, bonds, and bank savings to meet your present income requirements and future income needs without taking undue risk? If you don’t have an Investment Policy Statement (see earlier post)LINK, don’t retire until you do!
  • Finally, have you thought about “advanced planning issues”? These include estate considerations, gifting, life insurance, long-term care insurance, and what your preferred living arrangements will be.

Spring for a copy of The Extreme Retirement Planning Workbook, available on this website for a mere $11.95. Consider the value of even just one helpful idea as you approach retirement. I wrote this short, easy-to-read book for people everywhere who need to take time to map out how they will maximize their life after work.

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