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I love lists! They help you organize your tasks into a manageable form. With 65% of the population as visual learners, lists play a big part in the structure and management of thoughts, ideas, and tasks.

I am gifting you a list today that focuses on many of the questions you need to answer in preparation for retirement. Are you ready to start your golden years off on the right foot?

Is your debt paid off?
This is a big one. Take a close look at any debt that may have accumulated over the years: mortgages, small business loans, student loans, car payments, and credit card debt. If possible, you want to start retirement off debt free. The income you produce in retirement may not be enough to support the payment of your debts and intended lifestyle. As you near retirement, take a look at your outstanding debts and your plan to pay them off.

Have you calculated your living expenses?
When you retire, you will still be responsible for the same types of payments that you were before: housing/rent, utilities, food, transportation, taxes, and insurance. While your cost of living will go down, it does not decrease as dramatically as people think. Budgeting your monthly expenses before retirement is a great way to keep your savings strategy in motion.  

What does your budget look like for larger expenses?
Maybe you are a traveler, an adventurer who wants to see the world. Traveling is wonderful and something many retirees want to do, but it does come at a cost. Budgeting for any planned vacations or larger expenses will better prepare you to be able to afford your travel dreams.

Where do you want to live?
Before you retire, it is good to think about where you want to live. There are so many options for you to choose from: staying in your own home, downsizing, moving to a new state, moving to another country, relocating closer to family/friends. Once you have talked with your partner about a living arrangement that will work well for you both, you can start to look into those options more seriously.

What do you want to live in?
Home is wherever you make it. What type of home will be right for you in retirement: your house, a townhome, a condo, an apartment, an RV. This question is dependent on the one before it, and that answer should help inform the decision of what you will live in.

How will you spend your time?
Time is one of those gifts that you never have enough of. Your routine will shift dramatically once you enter retirement, and now is the time to think about ways you may want to fill it. This question moves beyond just being social and grabbing coffee with friends, it hones in on the purpose for your day. What will you do to create that purpose? Perhaps you will find part-time employment, pursue a passion project, volunteer more, and partake in community events. Through the creation of a plan for your time, you will be able to feel more secure in the transition.

What role does your family play?
Do you have grandchildren you want to see grow up? Are you longing to be closer to your children? Family proximity plays a huge role in the decisions of retirees. These relationships will help you decide on the best location for you and your partner as well as new ways to spend your time.

It is important to balance expectations with your spouse or partner. I suggest going through this list together so that your important life decisions are made in a collaborative way. You both may have differing views on these larger topics and to that I advise patience and compassion. This transition is not easy, nor is making difficult life decisions, but showing respect for your partner and their ideas will never go unnoticed.

For example, I love to garden. I know that someday I’ll probably be the stereotypical old man puttering around my yard. BUT I’m not sure that my wife wants that type of lifestyle/responsibility when we retire, so we may need to downsize and move into a townhome, and I’ll need to find a community garden, etc. to focus my hobby. It is all about give and take.

Retirement is a transition, and anything that you can do to better prepare yourself and your spouse for that transition will make you stronger in the long run.

Do you need help figuring out if you’re financially ready to retire? We can help – contact us now!