Life is a journey and generally most things in life tend to progress as expected. Each transition is eagerly anticipated and the road has been somewhat paved for you. You graduate high school and eagerly wait to enter college. You graduate college and eagerly (or reluctantly) begin your first job. You fall in love. You marry. You have children. And eagerly plan for their own journey.
And then comes retirement. In a flash for most of us.
Retirement can be a bit overwhelming with many choices of which road to take. Planning and fantasizing about when your retirement will occur does not always align with the reality. Unknown factors can significantly alter your plans.
A 2014 report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute states that half of retirees left the workforce far sooner than they expected. The main reason is unexpected health problems, which more than 60% of early retirees cited as the reason for the early retirement.
In addition, 18% of workers stated that they planned on retiring before age 65; however, a far greater number actually did (32%). What age are you planning to retire?
So how do you plan for the uncertainty of when your retirement will occur?
The best advice is to have a financial plan in place in order to allow you to have options. The many factors of how and when you decide to retire will be easier if a financial plan is in place to minimize the difficulty in changing your time frame. Maybe you can determine if you are able to make adjustments to retire earlier, just in case. One of the best things in life is working because you want to – not because you HAVE to. There is something powerful about having a potential ripcord if needed.
In addition, planning now for these unknown factors can significantly ease the burden of the decisions that need to be made in the future. Saving more now and investing in a diversified portfolio will help with your retirement planning. The key will always be your behavior to saving and your response to the common stock market downturns.
Having a financial planner who works with you at each stage of your planning can significantly ease the transition, not only financially but emotionally. Retirement can be difficult, especially if it is unexpected. But with early planning, the decision to retire sooner than you expected may be possible without requiring adjustments to your lifestyle. Plan to make work optional!
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