It is projected that 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older by 2030. Ten years from now may sound like a long time, but if you plan to retire soon, these years can fly by. Are you prepared?
Will you be one of the successful retirement investment stories we’ve all heard about, or a retirement horror story?
Making a hard-stop from work may not be the best option for everyone, and the financial requirements of retiring today may encourage many to extend their working life.
With retirement on a lot of people’s minds right now, we wanted to share 3 different ways to plot your transition into retirement.
Phase into Retirement
Like most things in life, a smooth transition into a new activity can make the change easier. This also applies to your retirement. Rather than saying a final goodbye to your co-workers and going from full-time employee to retiree in a 24-hour period, breaking up your retirement into different phases may be easier to manage.
As simple as this concept sounds, it is actually somewhat rare. Barely 1 in 10 corporations offer a formal phased retirement program. Therefore, it’s likely that you will need to create your own plan if you’re leaning toward a phased retirement. While this process may be different for everyone, having the conversation with your employer is a good starting point.
Before you initiate the conversation about a phased retirement, think about your specific timeline. Is it six months? A year? Then plan and implement your step-down. Whatever you decide, you can discuss and hopefully agree on a new workload with your employer. This can mean possibly taking on fewer projects or splitting responsibilities.
This strategy can offer a mutual benefit to you and your company. Your company can still obtain your value as an employee without losing your knowledge capital and avoid interrupting the firm’s day-today workflow by needing to find a sudden replacement for your role. Additionally, you can still receive some form of a salary and employee benefits, all while beginning your handoff into retirement.
Turning the phased retirement process into a discussion can build further trust with your employer and increase the odds that your transition into retirement will start smoothly.
Reap the Benefits of Part-Time Work
Another option is substantially reducing your workload and weekly schedule.
Saving for retirement effectively requires continuous and deliberate effort. Knowing how much to save for retirement can be a complicated equation, and sticking to a retirement savings plan isn’t always easy.
To that end, working part-time during your retirement can be a great way to generate income, preserve your Social Security benefits and gradually step into your life as a retiree. Additionally, it can make the change of routine and income that naturally comes with retirement less severe and more palatable for your whole family.
Working part-time can also help buffer the loss of employee benefits, specifically healthcare and your employer-sponsored retirement plan. If you neglect to plan around losing these benefits, it can put a surprise dent in your monthly budget.
If you aren’t able to contribute to a 401(k) or other type of company retirement plan as a part-time employee, talk with a financial advisor about opening your own retirement account, such as a Traditional or Roth IRA. As long as you have earned income, you are still eligible to save money in these tax-advantaged accounts and you can continue contributing to your existing retirement assets.
Regarding healthcare, be sure to exhaust your available options. Double-check if you can fall under your spouse’s healthcare coverage, or utilize Medicare if you are 65 or over. Healthcare spending is estimated to increase nearly 6 percent annually between now and 2027, so it’s important to keep healthcare as a top-of-mind expense at every stage of your retirement.
Start your Own Business or Become a Consultant
Of course, one of the most appealing components of retirement is freedom. Though there are many high-paying jobs that retirees can find, being able to work on your own terms can make all the difference in your quality of life as a semi-retiree. One viable way to make this happen is consulting or becoming self-employed.
Interestingly, one of the most beneficial retirement lifestyles doesn’t involve much retirement at all. When asked, many senior professionals say they don’t actually want to retire; 72 percent of employees over the age of 50 reported that they’d like to continue working in retirement. For working professionals that fit this sentiment, starting a business or completing consulting work can add a healthy income stream and minimize boredom during retirement.
But there are restrictions to working in retirement, and doing so can have an effect on your benefits, so make sure to discuss your plans with a financial advisor before you take on that new job. This step can be the difference of becoming one of the successful retirement investment stories we’ve dreamed of, or a retirement horror story we fear.
It may seem harder to stay competitive in the workforce as we get older, but consulting can turn this problem on its head. With deep experience as an industry professional, retirees actually have a major competitive edge when promoting themselves as a consultant, coach or mentor.
Furthermore, consultants have much more command over their salary, schedule and workload. You can determine what best fits you and your family’s needs, while still using all of your talents and skillset. Owning a business can offer similar benefits too.
Similar to working part-time, becoming self-employed will alter your financial picture. New financial considerations will naturally arise with your new income potential. Some of your biggest considerations will be taxes, healthcare, Social Security and a monthly budget that can tolerate potential fluctuations in income.
To properly plan for this new endeavor, speak to your financial advisor and form a new financial plan. By letting an investment professional handle the heavy lifting, you can focus on your business and capitalizing on your professional expertise.
You Have Options, Even in Retirement
Retirement doesn’t have to mean flipping a switch. Wherever you are financially, there are ways to create a retirement lifestyle that provides professional and personal fulfillment. Working with a financial advisor can help you see your full financial picture with much more clarity and can make your transition into your retirement years even easier – and make you another successful retirement investment story people talk about.