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Chad Storlie USAA's avatar User  Chad Storlie USAA Money Matters Blog | ‎03-31-2017 09:00 AM

Simple Financial Tips to Create a Great Retirement

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Retirement is one word that everyone agrees on. We all want it.  We all want it sooner rather than later.  We all want it to last.  We all want to be secure and financially comfortable.  These retirement financial goals are nearly universal.  What breaks down in retirement planning is connecting financial resources to retirement ideas. 

 

Follow these steps to a help secure retirement or even an early retirement:

 

Move To Where You Want To Retire While Still Working. A great way to start to ease into retirement is moving to one of your choices of a retirement locations while you are still working.  This is a great way to “try out” a retirement location, purchase your retirement house while you still have an income, and ensure that you truly enjoy the location where you want to retire.  Planning this move is a good way to communicate with a spouse or partner to ensure you find a location with the access, climate, health care, and other important considerations that you agree upon.

 

Set Your Current Spending to Your Retirement Spending Levels. An incredibly difficult pre-retirement activity is to reduce your spending to the income and cost level that you expect to maintain while in retirement.  You should also plan to do this for a year to six months.  Without a doubt, this will be the best and most challenging exercise that you can do to prepare for retirement.  This exercise will force you to reduce spending, eliminate non-essential costs, and make you find new activities (visiting the local library) that you enjoy and are cost free.  Any additional income you save should be placed into your retirement savings areas.  

 

Down Size Your House, Car & Other Major Expenses.   While you reduce your spending, you will also need to reduce your major expenses such as house payments, car payments, and the like.  The best way to have a successful retirement is controlling the size and the duration of these major life costs.  It will also force you to assess if you need two cars or just one as well as making sure that cars, cable television bills, and cell phone data plans all fit into your retirement monthly planning.  Again, this exercise will need to be done for six months to a year to ensure all your expenses conform to your retirement monthly budget.

 

Create Outside Income Sources That You Enjoy. Retirement should be based on several sources of income including hobbies, outside consulting, or other personal services that you can perform for additional income.  A great source of personal pride, purpose, and sense of self-worth comes from what you do for your monthly income.  Recognizing this fact and then creating a robust plan to sell paintings, refurbish furniture, or write are all ways to create outside income and maintain a sense of purpose. 

 

Create a Life of Purpose - Be Open To Changes & New Experiences. Retirement is above all a journey and not a destination.  Those that see retirement as an avenue to new experiences, new people, new learning, and new adventures and not a round robin of golf, drinks, and tennis will be far better off financially and personally in retirement.  Volunteering, teaching a class, and being a mentor are all ways to create and maintain purpose in retirement.

 

Don’t Make Major Life Changes Immediately. Retirement should be seen as a dimmer switch and not a light switch.  Easing into your retirement location, your retirement monthly budget, and replacing your profession with other things that give you joy and purpose are how to create a long term and successful retirement.  Retirement is a major life and personal change that you do not just fall into successfully.  A successful retirement takes discipline in both personal and financial matters to be successful.  Making small retirement changes over a 12 to 24-month period will help guarantee finding something that you will be happy for a long time to come. 

 

Creating a great or even an early retirement starts with a strong financial plan with a durable, disciplined spending approach. Retirements become undone over debt levels and spending well above your revenue.  Finally, approaching retirement as an adventure as opposed to a “one and done” decision leaves you open to new ideas, flexibility, and a willingness to adapt your reality to retirement.

 

Have something to add? How are you planning for retirement? Share you insight and advice below.

 

Additional Information:

10 Areas to Include in The Book of Knowledge

Be a Great Volunteer – Put Military Skills to Use to Help Others!

How To Turn a Hobby Into An Income

General Financial Advice & Planning

 

About the Author:

Chad Storlie is a Retired US Army Officer, the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and has published nearly 200 articles in almost 100 publications on career, education, financial planning, and national security topics.  Chad excels as an author, mentor, speaker, and teacher showing business leaders and military veterans how military skills make lives, careers, and businesses better.  Chad is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Creighton University.  Chad has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.  Follow Chad @CombatToCorp and www.CombatToCorporate.com.

 

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