OMG, I Am Losing Control Over My Life (Retirement Story)
One of the most common fears connected to finally going to retirement is that the retiree will no longer have complete control over their life. There is no place for improvement, you can no longer work extra hours to get a raise or a promotion, and your social network diminishes. Once you get to a certain age, your life changes drastically. Your children no longer heed your advice and are independent, your friends may be leaving to other countries to go through their retirements, and all of it seems to be out of your control.
You start feeling like your future is completely uncertain and that you cannot affect it in any meaningful way. That is not actually the case. The truth is that everyone has some level of control over their retirement and it is almost always more control than they anticipated.
“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.”—Abe Lemons
We are here to give you a short list of five things you can do to take control of your life in retirement.
Decide when you want to stop working
More is not always better. Sure, if you work for ten hours a day and six days a week until you are 70, you will have a lot more money and generally be better off financially. However, is it really worth it? Long hours come with a lot of stress in your life.
Even if you love your job, they simply grind you down, wear you out and make you unhappy. Not only that, but it can also negatively affect your family life. Spending time with your family is one of the most important things in life. So, try to find the right balance for you and do not forget that you can go to an earlier retirement with working part-time to earn the difference in money.
Choose a point in life at which you want to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits
This tip is closely connected to the one above. Most people choose to retire at the age of 66, however, you can start earlier or later, usually around 4 or 5 years around that number. This one has a grim connotation though. You should sit down and try to think about your own life expectancy. If you don’t expect to live past the age of 75, it would be an incredibly bad idea to work until you are 70. However, if your family history and your own personal health suggest that there is a chance for you to live until you are a century old, waiting actually makes sense. Of course, this tip falls flat if you really need the social security money to cover your daily expenses.
Decide when to start spending your savings
This one is about striking between your IRA and your savings. Here is the gist of it. If you have both retirement and non-retirement savings, it makes sense to start spending your saved money before tapping into your IRA. It is a good way to let it grow for a few more years. This way, you can avoid using the money from your IRA before you are 70 1/2 years old. On the flip side, if your IRA balance is already rather large, it makes more sense to start spending it sooner not to get moved into a tax bracket with larger percents. This way, you get to enjoy your retirement funds and your savings when you need them while avoiding really high taxes.
Choose the satisfactory location
You always get to choose where you will live. If you can’t stand the weather in your hometown, it could make sense to move to a cheaper place with warmer days. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone should head right for Florida, but you will no longer be stuck with obligations and you can choose where you want to spend your days in retirement.
Choose your lifestyle
It is time to sit down and think about what you want your life to look like. A lot of people have dreams of traveling the world and trying things they never dared to do while they were young. That is great if it is what you want. Or, you might want to help raise your grandchildren, throw parties or even take up sports. This one is very simple. Choose what you want. There is nothing holding you, so you can finally have all the free time you could never afford while working.
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