If retirement is on your radar for 2014, it’s important to start preparing to leave the workforce. Retirement is sweet, but it can quickly turn sour if you find yourself bored or, worse yet, on the verge of outliving your retirement savings. To help you ease into retirement, here are three retirement tips you might want to ponder:
1. Plan how you’re going to spend your time.
It’s important that you figure out what you are going to do and how you are going to spend your time in retirement.
Is there a passion you have always wanted to follow? Have you always wanted to give back and spend some of your time volunteering? Now is the time to pursue those dreams. You don’t want to simply do nothing in retirement—people with too much time on their hands might tend to overspend because they have nothing else to do.
2. Cautiously decide when to claim Social Security.
Keep in mind that there is no perfect answer. You can either take a reduced benefit at age 62—which will result in a smaller monthly payout to you—or wait until age 70 to receive your full benefit. Your choice depends on a number of different factors, including your health, your cash flow, and whether you are planning to work in retirement. Assessing your benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov can help you make your decision.
3. Revisit your asset allocation.
You might want to consider lowering the risk in your investment portfolio. Keep in mind, though, that your portfolio should keep up with inflation over what could be many years of retirement. While asset allocation does not ensure or guarantee better performance, and it cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses, it might help you stay on track with your retirement plan when your allocation is out of whack because of what’s happening in the market.
Retirement has a different meaning to different people, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan. Think of retirement like your bucket list, and plan accordingly so you can do all of the things you’ve wished to do while working. Of course, you can’t control every risk in the world, and some plans might not work out, but you can manage your risk by making informed decisions.
Steve Repak, CFP®, is the author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money.