Wise decisions with retirement in mind

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

By Mark McGahee

Some retirees succeed at realizing the life they want; others don’t. Fate aside, it isn’t merely a matter of investment decisions that makes the difference. There are certain dos and don’ts — some less apparent than others — that tend to encourage retirement happiness and comfort.

Retire financially literate. Some retirees don’t know how much they don’t know. They end their careers with inadequate financial knowledge, and yet, feel they can prepare for retirement on their own. They mistake creating a retirement income strategy with the whole of preparing for retirement, and gloss over longevity risk, risks to their estate, and potential health care expenses. The more you know, the more your retirement readiness improves.

A goal to retire debt free — or close to debt free? Even if your retirement savings are substantial, you may want to consider reviewing your overall debt situation.

Retire with purpose. There’s a difference between retiring and quitting. Some people can’t wait to quit their job at 62 or 65. If only they could escape and just relax and do nothing for a few years — wouldn’t that be a nice reward? Relaxation can lead to inertia, however, and inertia can lead to restlessness, even depression. You want to retire to a dream, not away from a problem.

The bottom line? Retirees who know what they want to do — and go out and do it — are positively contributing to their mental health and possibly their physical health as well. If they do something that is not only vital to them, but important to others, their community can benefit as well.

Retire healthy. Smoking, drinking, overeating, a dearth of physical activity — all these can take a toll on your capacity to live life fully and enjoy retirement. It is never too late to change habits that may lead to poor health.

Retire where you feel at home. It could be where you live now; it could be a nearby place where the scenery and people are uplifting. If you find yourself lonely in retirement, then look for ways to connect with people who share your experiences, interests and passions; those who encourage you and welcome you. This social interaction is one of the great, intangible retirement benefits.

 

Mark McGahee may be reached at 757-539-9465 or mmcgahee@isgva.com.