The better your choices, the better your retirement
I have spent almost three decades helping people prepare for their retirement years. Throughout that time, I have witnessed almost every possible scenario. The good and the bad. The joyful and the sad.
A financially secure couple in their late 60’s, struggling to decide when to quit working, even though they both hate their jobs. A widow in her early 70’s, facing the cold reality that her dreams for a comfortable retirement died when her husband passed away. A frugal couple in their 80’s, babysitting a significant sum of retirement savings, while they look back in regret at the life opportunities they let slip by because of their unfounded fear of outliving their money. People in their 50’s who are prepared for retirement and others who are rushing frantically to catch up.
This ‘manifesto’, if you will, is the synthesis of the observations I have made and the lessons I have learned during my journey with hundreds of Canadians into and throughout their retirement.
When it comes to retirement, there is no question MORE money is better than LESS. Over the first half of our lives, the goal of accumulating MORE is all we needed to focus on. However, by this stage in life, MORE is no longer the primary focus. Now the focus shifts to accumulating ENOUGH to successfully achieve the most important outcomes we seek to accomplish.
Then, as you begin to drawdown on your savings, it’s all about ensuring that you make the best choices to help your money work harder and last longer. These better choices ultimately allow you to do more and worry less over the balance of your life.
The more good choices you make, the better your life will be
The final 10 years of your saving years before retirement, followed by the first decade of your post-retirement spending years, are commonly referred to as The Retirement Risk Zone. This significant life transition earned this name due to the high concentration of tough choices you will confront during these decades; choices which, if poorly made, could put your ability to fund your desired retirement lifestyle at significant risk.
The tough choices you’ll have to make
People who know what they want are people who get what they want
- They thrive on having the opportunity to explore their possibilities and lifestyle options
- They’ve considered the what, when and cost of their potential choices
- They make better financial decisions because they translate their advance knowledge of how much money they’ll need – and when they’ll need it – into superior tax planning and investment decisions
- They have clarity of vision when it comes to understanding what is possible
- They have confidence that they know the steps to make their planned retirement lives possible
- They have security in knowing that they are in control of their own future
10 things you need to know:
- Better choices lead to more money
- Better choices on one level lead to better choices on other levels
- If you don’t enter the second half of your life with a plan, the chances are you’ll make at least one choice which you will regret later
- It pays dividends to give serious thought to how long you might live
- The 10 years leading up to retirement are pivotal in setting up the remainder of your life
- The investment and tax strategies in your retirement years will be very different from the ones you applied in your working years
- Market volatility poses the greatest risk retirement in the first 10 years after you stop earning
- Fluctuations in retirement spending will be a bonus or burden to your retirement depending on your approach
- Goals without a plan are merely wishes
- The better choices you make today, the better your life will be tomorrow