Planning for Retirement? Consider These 3 First Steps

You wouldn’t set out on your next vacation without taking some time to plan where you’re going or how you’ll get there. Retirement is no different! 

From keeping yourself active and engaged through social relationships to protecting your health with quality insurance, making the transition to happy and healthy retired life takes some thought and planning. And, like any transition in life, it’s much better to do it in advance. Here are three practical planning steps you can take to make sure you retire in style. 

DON’T BE AFRAID OF STRUCTURE

We get it. Our work lives are filled with timelines, budgets, and checklists. Surely retirement can be a structure free zone? While taking a step back from a heavily structured workday is one of the great perks of retirement, it’s worth bearing in mind that a little bit of structure never hurt anyone. In fact, it can be a good thing. 

Your finances are one area where a structured approach can, quite literally, yield dividends. A financial planning tool can help you quantify and understand your finances. Better yet, it can give you peace of mind. But structure goes beyond dollars and cents. Check out the tremendous nonprofit, Retirement Project. This organization offers a wealth of resources to get you started on embracing retirement life, including seminars, books, and short courses. 

PLAN HOW YOU’LL STAY HEALTHY

Health is a vital foundation for a good quality of life. As you approach retirement age, it’s smart to spend a bit of time planning how you’ll cover your health expenses and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Your first important step is to plan out your insurance. Anthem provides helpful tools to help you find plans that suit your lifestyle. Take a look at the company’s range of Medicare Advantage plans to find the right coverage for your budget. 

It’s a cliche, but you’ll also want to make sure you eat right and exercise right. An ever-expanding body of research tells us that if you plan to stay active into old age, exercise and nutrition are essential. There are plentiful resources that can help you here, but to get the ball rolling (perhaps literally!), here’s an excellent free resource put out by the US Department of Agriculture. 

INVEST IN EXPERIENCES

It’s all too easy to undervalue experiences and over-emphasize belongings. While the next big electronic product is always tempting, retirement presents a golden opportunity to think long and hard about all those experiences you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time or money to make happen. 

Now’s the time to make it happen! Use a travel-planning tool such as Rick Steves’ travel forum to begin getting seriously granular about where you want to go and how you plan to get there. A great thing about actively planning those memories now is that it can tie in beautifully with your financial planning. 

Planning sounds dry and dull, but it needn’t be! The right plan can be step one of a grand adventure.

PLAN NOW, RELAX LATER

The single most significant benefit of forward planning is that a bit of effort now can mean a lot of fun and relaxation later on. Structuring your finances, planning how to stay healthy, and investing in rewarding experiences are perfect starting points for that planning process. 

 

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