It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote a 3-part series entitled “The Middle Ages”. No, not the kind that you studied about in school and have read books and seen some great flicks about. I know you weren’t there, but you do remember it, right? It was the period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the European Renaissance, roughly from the 5th century through the 15th century AD. But now it’s practically 2019!
Although times have changed a tad since the Middle Ages, financial needs, dreams, goals, and their importance have not. So that’s why today I thought I would talk to you about another period of your life that requires a great plan and execution. Yet often we just don’t do it the way we should. I’m talking about your 60’s and 70’s and beyond, the golden years that usually spell retirement and big adjustments in life.
A Brief History – of You! The 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s
By the time you are 30, hopefully you have finished your higher education (although you should never stop learning!) and begun what you hope is your true career path. You have a job, you’re earning a decent salary, and you have goals and aspirations of what you’ll be doing for the foreseeable future. At least that’s what you want to have happen. This is a time in life when you have begun to be a real grownup. Your money relationships are just as significant as people relationships whether you like it or not. You’re now firmly out of the nest, you’re on your own financially speaking, and with that responsibility come some important decisions.
By the time you’ve reached your 40’s, you’ve hopefully found your career groove, or maybe you’ve even started it all over. For better or worse, you (and your partner) have probably gotten into a routine with money. If you have children, they’re growing up right before your eyes leading you to start thinking about the prospect of college. You learn quickly that you can’t take your eye off real important financial responsibilities like your life insurance coverage, credit rating, your real net worth, your monthly budget, and living within your means.
The 40-something years are the times when you should get a firm hold on your financial situation.
Once you have made it through your 30’s and 40’s, you’re in a special place as you enter your 50’s. It’s different then your parents’ and grandparents’ days. The 50’s are the new 40’s and you’re still young, vital, and involved as much or more than you ever were even as a 20, 30 or 40-something. Health consciousness has been ingrained in your mind, so much so by TV, you are probably in better shape than anyone who had ever been age 50 in world history! But now on your horizon are your 60’s and 70’s and that is a whole new ballgame…retirement.
What are You Afraid of in Your Retirement?
I’ve been retired officially for years now and I did a pretty good job of trying to save and prepare for my golden years. But when truth is told, almost every month I wonder if I will have enough to last. Is it possible to outlive the money that you’ve stashed away in retirement plans? Actually, it’s the biggest fear of retired folks today and that’s according to experts. Over 44% of all persons and 41% of all retirees think they may and actually fear they might outlive their money!
Of course living to a ripe old age is a worthy goal, presuming you have your health along with you as you do and that is a huge fear and real problem that people have to deal with!
If you do make it to say 80, 90, or older (we are living longer than ever these days!), it can wind up being a painful experience. There’s not a lot you can do about it when you’re in you 80’s, but there are some things you can do to prepare right now. You should plan for a longer life than ever before as the stats from Transamerica Center for Retirement have shown: If you’re a male who is 60, you can plan on living until you are at least 84. Women can expect to live on average until 87.
Taking care of yourself at an early age won’t guarantee you good health when you are 60 or 70, but it does increase your odds. I learned that one the hard way. Don’t ignore going to the doctor and dentist. The money spent on that now will save you later when you are not earning significant income and perhaps don’t have the Cadillac of health insurance plans you once had. Plus, being ill becomes a drain on your finances and not the pot-o-gold you hoped it would be to enjoy life after retiring!
Lifestyle Changes in Our 60’s and 70’s
The key to never outliving your money in retirement is that you will actually cut back on some of your expenditures. Unfortunately, many people won’t or don’t. In fact, according to Transamerica’s survey, over 40% of newly retired people spent more money in their first two years of retirement that they did in the last two years that they worked!
Retirement probably means downsizing your home, perhaps relocation, and a change of spending habits. You certainly will want to shift your spending habits when retired. You will want to spend more on fun stuff and travel if you are healthy and you can cut out some of the “basics” you spent regularly on when working like fancy cars or dining out at the fanciest restaurants. Does the phrase “early bird dining” come to mind? Stop spending “bigly” or else!
Don’t Worry ‘Cause You Have Social Security, Right?
Social Security (here I go again) is not supposed to be your only source of retirement income! You will need other forms, for most that will be your 401(k) or IRA plans, but it may also be a part time job or a side hustle, rental property income, pensions, or other sources. But be wary about some of that. Pensions are rare these days and getting a part time job in retirement isn’t a sure thing.
More than half of all retirees say that will work at least part time after retirement but only about 1 in 20 actually can find any work these days.
The Big 5 Dangers You May Face in Your 60’s and 70’s
Retirement sounds like tranquility. It is for a lot of people, but there are big holes you can fall into if you aren’t one who knows the score. Here are the 5 areas to be most wary of and it comes with my personal guarantee that it will hurt if you aren’t!
1. Take care of your health and see your doctor regularly
If you feel fine, you still need checkups and if you don’t feel well, you must see a doctor, period. Immortality is still just in the movies.
2. Find alternate sources of income in retirement
You need to supplement Social Security – work, investments, side gigs, anything that means some extra cash!
3. Don’t make foolish mistakes with your money in retirement
Scamming seniors is an industry and when you have time on your hands to answer every call, letter, and knock on your door, you may be the perfect target. Don’t believe everything you see and hear.
4. Plan a good tax strategy
Social Security can be taxed. Know the rules and look for legal ways to avoid taxes.
5. Don’t go “bankrolling” your kids (or grandkids)
Please, we all love our kids, but don’t put yourself in danger because they are pressing you for help. You do neither any favor when you do, they have to grow up sometime, and that’s when they will learn to deal with their financial issues, not by a handout.
The first rule of any good plan for retirement is to actually sit down and write out the details of what you have as your assets and what you what you want to do with them. The 4% rule of using your retirement savings was a good way to plan years ago, but that has changed with the longer lifespans we have today. No matter what you save, using 4% every year will cover 25 years for yourself. What if you live 30 or more? What if you live even longer and/or have health issues? Adjusting that number every year and using alternative revenue streams is a better strategy so as not to outlive your money.
Are you among the millions who are worried about the golden years? Are you optimistic about your 60’s and 70s and beyond, or are you worried about them? Have you been preparing all your life for what can be the best of times or not?