How to Prepare for a successful retirement experience

Retirement is one thing people often either forget about or just put off until they are forced to come to terms with the fact that it’s a reality. By the time that happens, for most, it is already almost time to retire. The retirement phase of a person’s life has to be planed for, just like every other serious thing. If it is not considered ahead of time and necessary preparations put in place, well, you are sure not going to like the experience. Worse still, being caught up with age at the time, there will really be little or nothing you can do to make it better, if not the best retirement experience you would have wanted it to be.

It’s not old fashioned to start preparing for your retirement in your twenties. If you make the decision to start now, you would be glad you did when the time comes. Actually the earlier you begin preparing for retirement, the better off you will be. So no matter how close or far off you your retirement age may seem at the moment, it not too late or too early to start. The timing is just right and the fact that you are reading this is proof enough. Just like successful career, there is indeed such a thing as successful retirement and it is largely dependent on the quality of retirement planning decisions a person makes.

Start with a great retirement plan

We cannot get tired of the warning phrase “failing to plan is planning to fail”. And how can we, seeing that it cuts across every single issue in life. The measure of one’s success in every aspect is a direct function of the quality of plan they make and their commitment to the same.  Amidst other important thigs, financial planning for one’s retirement cannot be overemphasized. Take your finances seriously and plan accordingly.

Come up with a thirty, twenty or forty-year plan, depending on how far or close you are to retirement age. Let each year have its share of contribution for those days when there would be no job as you know it now, and no finances coming in form that source. Retirement planning decisions must be carefully done if you are going to experience a successful retirement.

Let every day, week, month and year count. In this regard, you may want to get a financial planner to help you make the right decisions.

Then are also different pension plans from which you have to make a choice. The best pension plan is actually the one which most adequately takes into consideration your financial need for the time being and those that will arise in the days of your retirement.

Plan to marry and raise children on time

Though seldom taken seriously, this is one of the most important retirement planning decisions one should consider making. Retiring while your children are still adolescents is not a very good thing. Of course some people are usually so busy with career that they forget the more important things of life. By the time you retire, you should be carrying your grandchildren or at least looking forward to having them. If a man gets married at the age of 23, and has a son within the first year of his marriage, he should be expecting to have his first grandchild somewhere between 46 to 50 years of age. Now that’s good enough.

There are those, who for whatever reasons don’t consider or plan for their marriage and children. They also want to have a successful retirement experience but they are surely missing an important part of the puzzle.

If you are still young and unmarried, you have a chance to fully take advantage of this, otherwise you will be standing the risk of regret. However, you should begin making plans concerning family and retirement, no matter now late you may feel you are.   

Be financially advised

When it comes to financial matters, one can never know too much. Times change and so does the value of every currency. Don’t just try to save or invest for your retirement days. Consider the options you have very closely. Look up the best pension plan you can get. If you intend to start up a savings account (which you definitely should), search for a bank with the most generous interest rates on savings. Read financial magazines, ask questions from those who are well informed in that domain. Carry out your own research and gather as much information as possible. When it comes to one’s financial wellbeing, the worse thing is being ignorant of what will best work to your advantage and what will not.

Also remember that you are gathering information for years to come. Things will definitely change, so it is not going to be an issue of “once in ten years” information gathering. If you will, and have the means, hire a financial adviser to update you on monetary matters as well as finding the best pension plan for you. You can be sure that at the end of the day the sacrifice would be worth it.

Savings, your most formidable option

Savings, no matter how small is very necessary for building financial stamina and preparing for retirement. It should therefore be foremost amongst your retirement planning decisions. Pension programs are a form of savings and of course you should be part of it. However, they cannot always be relied on. If you can find one of the best pension plans in your city, then your savings will be a good bonus when you retire. There are so many things that could happen to your pension, and believe me, most of them are not good things at all. This makes it necessary to have a second basket for your eggs.

Actual savings are more secure. They also have the important possibility of multiplying at a geometric rate, bringing in more money depending on how much you are putting in and the interest rate offered by the bank of your choice.

It would not be wrong to say that next to investment, saving is the most important thing one can do in preparation for a successful retirement. In addition to this, savings has the power of preparing you for investment opportunities that may show up. 

Investing wisely

There are few things as fulfilling as knowing that your retirement is not going to mean the end of income flow. This is very possible if you decide to take advantage of investment opportunities. There are so many avenues for investment and many of them have the potential of bringing in even more profit or income than you are getting from your current job.

As you master the art of saving, plan to make wise and timely investment. Remember everything has to be calculated. Once you are certain about a particular investment option, you should start planning to seize the opportunity.

Now it does not have to be initially big, so long as you can envision progressive increase in your earnings over time. The principle here is the same famous one; don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You never know if or when you will be laid off. It will work to one’s advantage to diversify their income sources through investment as a means of preparing for a successful retirement. Make up your mind to be just as diligent when it comes to investment and savings as you have been all these years with your job. Save, whether you feel like it or not.

There are investments which will require your attention to be productive and yield fruits and there are investments which only need your money. Such things as buying a share at a company and becoming a dormant partner are great ideas, especially if you do not have the time to run your investment on your own.

Watch your Spending habits now

Maybe you have been privileged to hear your father or grandfather express their regret over how they spent their money in the day they had it coming. Despite having the best retirement pension plan you can find, it will be difficult to meet up with your retirement objectives if you have a bad spending habit. Your spending habits, especially in one’s younger days have a great effect on our finances which will be felt right up to the days when you are retired. It also greatly influences a person’s ability to save.

This is especially so for younger people who are always very anxious to buy all the latest electronics and dresses. There’s always a newer version of the electronic gadgets you are currently using, and if you allow yourself to be deceived by the need to be trendy, you will find yourself greatly wanting in the matter of savings. The more one spends, the less they can save. One thing you may want to do in this regard is divide your expenses into relevant and irrelevant stuff. Or basically needs and wants. Cut off those things you can do without or at least reduce the amount of money you spend on them. the sad thing is that most of these things are actually very trivial and are useless compared to the necessity for better savings and a comfortable retirement experience. If you cannot deal with wrong spending habits even the best pension plan will not be adequate to cover up the need.

I recently read a story about a father who got an opportunity to teach his son the importance of investing over spending. The young man had friends at school who were all driving their own cars. Though he had not bothered so much about having one himself, the feeling of being different over powered him and finally he decided to ask for a car from his dad. When he did, his father asked him if he really needed one. Because he was unable to give a clear answer, his dad decided to strike a deal with him.

He would give the young man some amount of money to make an investment and if he succeeded in making a profit to the amount needed to buy the kind of car he wanted, well, then he could make the purchase. Long story short! He invested the money, made the profit and got enough to buy the car but when the time came, he was much more concerned about reinvesting the money than buying a car. He had learnt firsthand the importance and power of investing over spending.

Now if you will copy that example and take the golden step of investing the little amounts you spend on trivialities, you will be able to build enough wealth and investments to keep you going in the days of your retirement.

Develop your self-employment skill

If you retire in your fifties, and many people do, you will still have enough strength to do something for yourself. Seeing that most people do not find time to develop the skill for what they are passionate about, you may want to start something along that line if you happen to be one of such people. In the days when you are still on the job that brings in enough money to care for yourself and family, find a way to start and develop a self-employment skill. For many people I know, it is farming.

Start a farm, see what time and energy you can put into it and what you are able to get out of it. If you do that ten years before your retirement age, chances are you would be a master at it and it would become to you a great way to stay gainfully occupied after your retirement. 

Another reason why you should consider self -employment along -side your present job is the fact that the older you get, the smaller your chances are to get absorbed into the job market. Even recruiting firms will find it hard getting a company that can employ you when you are near or up to retirement age.

Self-employment is your double barreled weapon to you keep idleness and want of income away when it is time to retire.

 Prioritize owning a house over paying rents.

When the time for retirement comes, you don’t want to be in another man’s house trying to figure out how you are going to pay the mortgage. Believe me, it is just as embarrassing as it is annoying. As a young man or woman growing up, it is important that you work hard and earn enough to meet your need and live your dreams, but what is even more important is understanding those vital steps you need to take in order to meet those needs.

Paying rents may seem easier but it is way more expensive in the long run and will definitely be more of a burden when you are retired. You will feel better if when it is time for you to be retired you are already in your own house and do not have to worry about rents. And by the way technology is introducing even more interesting ways to save on household expenses. Using solar power for example will be more beneficial than paying electricity bill. That is one other thing that can help you minimize household expenses and increase your savings.

If you cannot find the time to build a house, just plan to buy one. The important thing is that at the end of the day you will have a house to your name.

 Consider vacation and other such leisure trips

Most people are in a rats’ race, always working as hard as possible to get more of everything and keep in pace with society. Many never find time to relax and enjoy what they are working so hard for. Retirement is a great period to travel the world, if you have the means or at least visit those places and take part in those events you have only dreamed about. In any case you will have to consider the matter closely and make preparations for it.

Start by having a list of places you will like to visit or things you will want to do when you retire. Check how much it will cost and work towards saving and making preparations for it. Let the aspiration of going to those places serve as additional motivation for you to better prepare for a great retirement experience. Your retirement days could be a lot of fun, or a nightmare, depending on what you personally plan to make of it.

 Get out of debt and Stay out

Not making enough money to keep up with daily expenditures? Well, that’s a popular situation, the question is what are you going to do about it? Borrowing is not the way out. It’s like gambling with money you do not have. Those who make a habit of borrowing rarely get to a place where they can start saving anything. Then there is the risk of falling into the dangerous hands of pay day lenders.

If you are already neck deep in debt, you can still get out. Unless you do not have a regular income, make arrangements with your bank to automatically repay the loan whenever you receive pay. That way you do not have to go through the temptation of spending the money. Sometimes the worse debtors are chronic gamblers. That’s the additional problem that keeps them from financial freedom and which will deprive them of a successful retirement experience if precautions are not taken. If it is the case with you, be sure to quite gambling. You can surely figure out better ways of spending the money.

For those who are not caught in the trap, here is how you can stay clear of the ugly experience. Avoid unnecessary spending as much as possible. the surest way to get into debt is to develop spending habits which are beyond your pay package. This is the main thing that puts pressure on you to want more money for things you cannot afford. If you cannot pay for anything without borrowing, just avoid it. There are actually so many things people are obsessed about having, and oh, they must have them at all cost and “right now”. However, not log from the time when you have what you so much craved, you come to realize that you really did not need it at all. After all, people survived when some of those things did not exist.

There are situations when borrowing seems to be a necessity and the only means of dealing with some pressing need. You can make such instances exceptions provided they don’t become a regular practice. Just ensure that while you look forward to a successful retirement experience, staying debt free is part of your retirement planning decisions.

 Have a life apart from work

If you have all the money you may want, remember that the things money cannot buy are the most precious. Things like family, love, companionship and the like. These things hold in themselves the potential of making your retirement days much more pleasurable that money can.

The implication is that one tries as much as possible to keep the bond of family strong. The last thing you want is to retire without family and loved ones or retire to a broken home. When the time comes and you are probably a grand father or mother, the joy of knowing and fellowshipping with your children and grandchildren will be priceless.

In an effort to make money, several people have sacrificed these things that money cannot buy. At the end of the day, most are willing to give up all that money for what they once gave up to have it.

Have a life apart from work. Get involved in some spiritual activity. Sign up to a club and learn to have fun. Find time for exercises and take care of your body so that it can still be strong enough to carry on when you retire.

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