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Sound Advice: January 11, 2023

The Bigger Retirement Question

Although financial planning is best begun as early as possible, the reality is that most folks don’t begin giving serious thought to what lies ahead until they are in their 50s . . . or even 60s, a time when it’s getting perilously close to being too late.  I recall a couple who pulled up in two brand new Mercedes sedans when they arrived for a talk about their retirement years.  Those who would be impressed by this display might have speculated that this couple’s finances were in good shape. 

The reality was otherwise.  When we began their review, we noted that their assets were barely more than $200,000.  That was before getting to their debts and how their prospective income stacked up against their expected expenses.  Sad to say, it only got worse from there. 

Even so, the question about whether you will have enough pales in comparison with an even more important concern: What will you be doing when you are no longer working?  A surprising number of people have no idea.  Quite a few can’t wait to end a job that they find unsatisfying.  Others have spent their lives daydreaming about the days of pleasure that lie beyond the working years.  For many though, the thinking has gone no further.  And then there are people who talk about volunteering and taking courses.

It should come as no surprise that some have retired . . . and then gone back to work.

Yes, concerns about having sufficient resources to maintain one’s preferred lifestyle are important, but having abundant time to enjoy life with no interests and no plan to be involved in activities that are truly satisfying can be a formula for steady deterioration.  Whether the future will be focused on hobbies, new businesses, travel or spending more time with close friends and family, what could be years of leisure and fulfillment may end up as little more than marking time toward one’s end.

Early planning of one’s financial future will increase the likelihood of a comfortable retirement.  That will include a proper assessment of personal assets, debts, income, and expenses.  In addition, one needs to be prepared for such nonrecurring events as downsizing, health issues, and inheritances, among others.  Without this preparation, too much time will be spent on the financial side of the equation, seriously jeopardizing a time of life when there should be a variety of available options for enjoyment.

Far better to understand the benefits of getting started as soon as possible.  By getting a head start, the odds of a happier future will increase substantially.

 N. Russell Wayne, CFPÒ

www.soundasset.com

Any questions?  Please contact me at nrwayne@soundasset.com

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