Elizabeth Kwong, Ph.D., is president of Kwong Eureka Solutions.
Continued from “Primers Before You Say ‘Yes’ to Early Retirement—Part 2”…
Prepare to retire “young.” Stop feeling like an old person peering out of a young body. Getting old is very relative. Remember when you were 10 and looked at your aunts and uncles in their 30s and thought, “Wow, they are old”? Now you are them. But if you act like an old person, people will treat you like one. Keep up with technology and current happenings. You don’t need to “party like it’s 1999,” but just knowing what the young generation is texting about will help you feel and seem younger. Don’t get left behind!
Be financially secure; don’t let your bank take advantage of you when you are not paying attention! Calculate what you can afford per month on what you have. Prepare to live within your means. Consider my third point—it is important to remember that if you are planning to make house updates, do those renovations while you are still earning consistently. Once you choose retirement, unless you retire über rich, it will be more difficult to fund large projects properly with the limited budget of a retiree.
Put money away as you can throughout your career and try to not owe too much before retiring. Enjoy the money you put away; you don’t need to work until you are 70 unless you have to feed the whole village. If you keep working and stressing yourself, you will end up needing healthcare and will not be able enjoy the freedom. Mind you, you still need to keep the nugget as sharp as ever by stimulating and challenging yourself. Start planning for financial security as early as possible to ensure a happy retirement.
In conclusion, retiring is not as bad as what the news and media portray it to be. Knowing the things I do now about how to prepare for retirement would’ve helped, but I do know that moving forward, looking for new interests, meeting new people, and finding yourself is definitely a step in the right direction. I am finally able to do what I want and be free, although I do miss the social interactions while at work. I hope these pointers for how to prepare for retirement help in your journey from the hectic work life to a new found freedom.