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No one can work forever. As the years go on, a lot of us dream of the day we are going to retire and what we are going to do with all that time and money. However, we often think we don’t need advice about retirement and end up going in blind. This is a big mistake, as many retirees before us have learned this the hard way.
Luckily, there are professionals these days that prepare people for retirement, and their advice seems to match with what people who have experienced retirement say. Here are the biggest lessons about retirement that they have to teach.
Make Sure to Plan for Retirement
Many people think that their retirement money will see them through the rest of their lives, but in reality, it is never enough. You may find that after retirement, you still have a long life ahead of you that will require more than what you got from your savings, pension and/or government benefits.
That is why you need to do financial planning for your retirement by finding ways of turning your savings into a source of income. At this point, it becomes extremely important to think of ways to invest the savings so they can generate an income.
Transitioning Into Retirement Isn’t Easy
After decades of working, retirement can take a bit of getting used to. Now that you are no longer working, it can mean trying to figure out who you are without your occupation to define you. You should expect to experience a range of emotions, from being excited about your new-found freedom to being bored that you have nothing to do.
It can be even harder to do if your work came with some perks that made the job worth it. For example, if part of the job involved traveling around and sleeping in luxury hotels, it might be hard to let go of that life. But eventually, you will adjust.
A large part making sure retirement goes smoothly is to live within your means. When you were on a fixed income, you certainly grew accustomed to things that aren’t financially viable now that you are retired. It is about making a budget and sticking with it to make sure you’re not forced out of retirement early.
The same applies to any income that you bring in after retirement. To make sure it is enough to sustain you, do not spend more than you are bringing in. Two of the biggest secrets to frugality is being happy with what you have and cutting needless expenses (that gym membership you hardly use).
Health and Life Insurance is Important
While working, it is very likely that your health insurance was provided by your employer. Now that they are no longer around, you might find that it is costly to cover alone, especially now that you are old. However, it is extremely important to have health insurance in retirement as well.
At the end of the day, it is all about reading up on what your options are. You can talk to your employer to find out if they offer health benefits for retirees. And if they don’t, find out if COBRA provisions allow you to stay on your current plan, particularly, for how long and how much.
You can also look into Medicare and see how that affects you as a retiree. Learn about what Medicare covers and what it doesn’t.
On top of that, you may want to consider getting a final expense life insurance policy or something simple like term life insurance to leave a legacy behind. The most important thing will be to shop around.
Don’t Let Your Debt Get Out of Control
If you have accrued a bit of debt during the time you were working, it might eat away at your savings during retirement. This makes it extremely important to make sure that you pay off as much of your debts as possible before retirement. If you can manage to pay them all, that would be even better – this will allow for a comfortable retirement.
And while you are retired, avoiding debt becomes a must. If you are getting into debt to maintain a certain lifestyle you were used to while working, realize that your financial status has changed and live within your means.
Don’t Be Surprised If You Lose Some Friends
Many people have retired only to find that they have lost many of their friends. While working, you might be able to forge friendships with your co-workers. At the time, it might seem like the bonds extend beyond the professional setting only to discover that they were only your friends due to the power and influence you held over them.
Of course, there will be some people who were truly your friends and will keep in touch while you are in retirement. However, you shouldn’t be surprised if some of them drop off the planet despite seeing them almost every day for many years.
Expect to Live a Long Life
Many people underestimate just how long they will live after retirement. With the way technology and modern medicine keeps advancing, you should not be surprised if you live to see your great-grandchildren. So when spending your retirement money, you need to also assume that you still have a lot more mileage left in this life.
If you are frugal and plan carefully, you can have money until you are 100 years old. Going broke in your advanced years is something you don’t want to experience. And if you don’t live long enough to reach a hundred, then at least you would have left a little something for your loved ones.
These are lessons that retirees that came before you have learned and have decided to share. Retirement is just another phase of life that can be as exciting and rewarding as when you were working – just in a different way. However, you have to avoid certain pitfalls if you are to enjoy it.
And it also helps to speak to professionals about retirement. They will no doubt tell you some of the advice that has been mentioned above. Plus, they will train you for retirement, from making a retirement plan to arranging healthcare for yourself.