Let’s talk about the ‘R’word. You know the one, retirement. It’s a word we’re all familiar with and, as I’m sure you know, planning for retirement is important. But far too many of us aren’t properly planning for it. Why? Well, for many people it feels too far off and a little abstract. Like the deep sea, we know it exists but it’s not quite close enough to feel like anything we’ll ever experience first-hand. People often ask us how to plan for the future when you’re not sure what the world is going to look like in 5, 10, or 30 years, so let’s take a moment to talk about what good and bad retirement planning means and how you can better plan for yourself and your family.
WHAT IS RETIREMENT, EXACTLY?
We all have different hobbies, interests, and values, so retirement means different things to different people. Here at Brighton Financial, we encourage you to think of retirement as an exciting new chapter in your life, a chapter that you get to write on your own terms and with your own needs in mind. In fact, we don’t like to use the ‘R’ word around here, as many of our clients feel it conjures up feelings of things coming to an end, as if they’re saying goodbye to usefulness. On the contrary, we believe that retirement opens doors and presents you with opportunities that allow for even more meaningful and fulfilling lives!
RETIREMENT ISN’T THE END OF ANYTHING. INSTEAD, IT’S THE BEGINNING OF A NEW WAY OF LIVING. IT’S AN EXCITING TIME! WANT PROOF?
- How many countries are on your bucket list? Many of our clients trade their briefcase for a suitcase and head off to places they’ve always dreamed of visiting. Don’t forget the selfie-stick!
- Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in the Italian countryside? Or what about the foothills of the Alps? We know many adventurous spirits who use their retirement to spent extended periods of time living abroad, really delving into the culture of a foreign country.
- We all wish we could spend more time with our families, and retirement is a great time to spend quality time with our children and grandchildren.
- Is there a charitable cause that’s close to your heart? Many of our clients spent time volunteering at local charity shops, animal shelters, or care homes and find great fulfilment in serving others and giving back to their communities.
- Master a hobby or two! Our clients have used their new-found free time to explore sailing, bridge, scuba diving, flying and textile design, just to name a few.
- Have strong opinions about the state of the country? We work with people who have gotten involved in politics and are helping their communities grow and thrive by getting working in local politics.
- Retirement doesn’t mean you have to trade the office chair for a rocking chair! From karate to weight lifting and triathlons, we’ve seen many of our clients dedicate their time to healthy living and sport after saying goodbye to the 9-to-5.
As long as you plan for it, you can do anything you want when you retire.
HOW DO YOU PROPERLY PLAN FOR RETIREMENT?
First, ask yourself what you want to do when you no longer have to work. Be honest and realistic in what you think is desirable and sustainable for your life. Once you have a clear idea of what you would like to do, it’s just a matter of managing your assets to make sure you’re able to fund the lifestyle you want.
There are many assets you can use to support your new life. These include:
- Pension schemes
To make the most of these assets, you need to put together a way to access them in an efficient and sensible manner. Factoring in assumed growth and inflation rates along with building in future potential lump sum needs will enable you to build a picture of your income profile over the coming years, which will help you plan with confidence. Of course, this all needs investment on your part but the benefits of this investment, coupled with regular reviews of your financial situation, means you can build the future life you truly want.
Not the planning type? “What will happen, will happen.” This is something we hear quite regularly from folks who tell us they’re not really the planning type. It’s a fair point; not all of us are programmed to plan ahead, and that’s perfectly fine! We have no desire to drag the proverbial horse to the river, but we do try to be a voice of reason in the face of the naysayers (and they usually end up drinking the river water in the end). Here are a few reasons people are hesitant about taking the plunge and thinking seriously about their future.
- “We don’t have enough money.” Money is tight for many people– including those that save regularly. We work with our clients to find manageable ways of stretching their income so they can still put a portion toward their future. Remember, retirement doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s important to explore all your retirement opportunities before dismissing them completely.
- “We’d rather leave our money to the children.” Leaving money to your children is a valid desire, but is it worth stifling your own happiness to do so? Ask your children, would they rather see you living a full and happy life, or would they rather have a pot of money after you’re gone? We like to think most children would take happy parents over cold hard cash.
- “But what if it all goes wrong?” What if the zombie apocalypse really does happen? What if a flu virus takes out all of humankind? What if Donald Trump becomes president and the global economy collapses? These are valid concerns and no one can accurately predict what will happen in the future, which is why it’s vital to review your financial situation regularly so you can navigate as best you can when the unexpected happens (which it will). But ignoring the fact that the future will happen means that one day it’ll arrive and you won’t be prepared at all. (This will be especially bad if it involves zombies…)
- “There isn’t anything we really want to do.” You may be as happy as Larry (whoever Larry is!), in which case, good for you! But we’d like to challenge you to sit back and think about what you would do if you weren’t spending your days at work. Would evenings in on the sofa seem as attractive? Would you get itchy feet and feel the need to explore? How does your partner feel about the future, or your children? As the old adage goes, life isn’t a rehearsal and we’re all running out of time. Don’t let caution be the enemy of your dreams!
YOUR FUTURE IS IN YOUR HANDS.
When it comes to retirement, your destiny is in your hands. Dare to dream about the life you want and remember that the numbers are often the easy part. It’s getting the imagination flowing that is far trickier, as most of us tend to focus on short-term needs and goals over those that are more long-term.
You may not be able to afford to do everything you want to do when you retire, but if you can do some or most of the things you’d like to do, would that make a difference to the way you think about your future? Stop saying “if only” and take command of your life. Don’t live with regrets but, most importantly, don’t die with any, either!