About the author: Lamar Watson, CFP®, is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor in the Washington, D.C. area that works with clients virtually across the country. Lamar's work with his clients focuses on Insurance, Retirement Planning, and Investing. Lamar is the Founder of Dream Financial Planning, a virtual Fiduciary Financial Planning firm specifically designed to help young professionals and minorities take control of their finances and fulfill their dreams. Feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn how we use the DREAM Financial Planning Process ™ to help our clients achieve their goals.
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Reaching retirement can feel like crossing the finish line at the end of a 30-, 40- or even 50-year-long marathon. Therefore, many of us look forward to the endless vacation days and the rest and relaxation of retirement. Although a life with no alarm clock is something we dream about, the truth is that retirement really throws a wrench in how we view our money, and the switch from receiving structured, employment-driven income to drawing down investment accounts can be harder than we realize.
If you’re retired (or nearing retirement), you’ve worked long enough to see a vastly transformed economy. Factors like offshored workforces and manufacturing, corporate acquisitions, and the transition from a manufacturing-based economy to one of service, information, and technology-based has fundamentally changed employment dynamics.
With some public-sector and rare private business exceptions, defined benefit plans like pensions have gone the way of the dinosaur. This means the burden of saving for retirement has shifted to you. And just as your money mentality has changed over the course of your career, so too should it change when you retire.
Changing Your Money Mentality in Retirement
You used to ask yourself if you were saving enough money for retirement. Now you’ll have to ask yourself how long you need that money to last for both you and your partner.
You used to set retirement savings goals. Now you look at your money in an entirely different way, and your goal is to set budget goals that make sense for your lifestyle.
You used to optimize your portfolio to reflect your growth needs and risk capacity. Now that you’re retired, you may look at dips in the market and other risks in an entirely different way.
You (probably) used to work full-time for your primary source of income. Now, luckily, you have a lot more flexibility. Do you want to work part-time? Consult? Or do you want to pursue a retirement career that reflects one of your passions?
Retirement Mindset Means More Than Just Money
When you think about it, suddenly moving from working 40 hours a week to zero can be a real shock to your system. Although it may sound great in theory, the truth is that we’re creatures of habit—and we don’t always react well to quick and dramatic changes. Some employers will allow you to ease into retirement by gradually shortening your workweek over a year or a couple of years. This can be a great way to get your toes wet before diving right into full retirement. Use your days off to discover new hobbies, start volunteering, meet with friends and begin developing a new routine you can expand on throughout retirement.
If your current place of employment does not offer a gradual retirement option, you could search for a part-time job, perhaps something that’s more laid back or of interest to you. Easing into retirement not only helps reduce the shock but also can be a great way to continue earning income without committing to a full workweek.
Everybody Needs a Helping Hand Sometimes
If you’re struggling with your money mentality, there are things you can do to help. For many, this starts with making sure they’re aligned with their passions—friends, family, travel, hobbies, volunteering and so much more. Some look for role models, people like them who are wonderful examples of thriving in retirement. Others get help from their financial professionals to set and meet their retirement goals.
Dream Financial Planning Process ™
Do you know how much you need to retire? The DREAM Financial Planning Process™ for established professionals is tailored to the unique needs of those who are already retired or 20 years or less from their ideal retirement date. Since many established professionals are approaching retirement age, we wanted to create a more customized way of tending to your financial needs and goals. With this process, we’re able to uncover untapped opportunities, as well as discover gaps in your current strategy that could be preventing you from enjoying a long and fulfilling retirement.
With uncertainty surrounding the economic stability of our country, it's okay to have fears and anxieties surrounding your own savings and investments. The most productive course of action from here is to reach out to Dream Financial Planning (or whoever your trusted advisor might be) and discuss your options. It's easy to have knee-jerk reactions when it feels like the bottom is falling out, but it is imperative to make decisions using research-backed data and a level head. If you'd like a Complimentary Review and risk assessment of your investment portfolio, feel free to send me an e-mail.
In the August Newsletter, I explore how you should invest money for your short-term goals after you've established an emergency fund. I also discuss how a Financial Advisor can help you avoid emotional decision-making with U.S. News and World Report and how to know if your Financial Advisor is the right fit for you. There are also blog posts where I outline how to complete a mid-year financial check-up and 5 college planning mistakes to avoid.
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