How To Make The Most out of Your Retirement Plan

These days, retirement lasts longer than ever before. While our parents generation might have spent 10 to 15 years relaxing on the front porch, todays retirees are enjoying retired life for 20 years or more.

With all that extra time, its important to know that your needs will be covered and that youll be able to do the things you want. Here are some things to think about as you make plans for the near and distant future.

Your own goals and values matter most
While others are painting or traveling, maybe youd rather have a larger budget for gardening, golfing, or visiting the grandkids. Focus on the things dearest to you, and let the rest go.

This also holds true while you save for retirement. Theres no law decreeing that you have to have a cell phone, new car, and satellite TV. If you can live without them, consider saving that money instead. Later on, youll be so glad you did.

Family life gets bigger
If you have children, what stage of life will they be in? Maybe youll be helping them through college, or maybe it will be time to start spoiling the grandkids. Keep in mind that you might want to move to be near them.

Your home will help a lot
A paid-off home can be a great asseteither as shelter or as a source of funds when you sell it. Will you want to downsize your home or move to a lower-cost area of living?

Homeowners who dont plan to leave an estate sometimes get a reverse mortgage. Theyre similar to home equity loans in a couple ways: You borrow money based on the equity in your home (the homes value minus how much you owe on it), and you carefully limit how much you borrow. And just like with a home equity loan, you should talk to a financial professional to make sure its the right choice for you.

Your career doesnt have to end
If you love your job, theres no reason to stop just because youve reached a certain age. There are lots of reasons to work during retirement [May 1: 6 Reasons Why People are Working During Retirement]. Or it could be the time to start the second career youve secretly dreamed of.

Your finances will probably change

Gone are the days of the full pensionat least for most people. Instead, todays retirement portfolios often include several smaller streams of income. For example, you might collect Social Security and a small pension, and use some savings to cover the rest of your living expenses. Take a look at the Retirement Snapshot tool to get a better idea, and see how your options can affect your retirement income.

Make This Work for You

  • Try out the Retirement Snapshot tool and find out how much income you’re on track to have during retirement
  • Write down six things you want to do during your retirement
  • Keep a running dialogue with your family about your plans for retirement

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