Can you give me some advice on how to prepare for retirement?
I have spent 25 years looking forward to retirement but, as that day nears, I’m becoming more and more nervous. I figure I have about 10 more years before I am able to stop wearing a suit everyday. Even though I’m excited about it, I’m worried that I won’t be financially prepared. Do you have any advice on how to make sure you can have a stable retirement on the financial side of things? I’ve always enjoyed your advice but this is the first time I’ve asked a question. I guess I’m a “long time reader, first time writer”!
Thunder Bay, Ontario
We are actually in the same boat. I’ve been looking forward to my golden years for some time but as it gets closer to becoming a reality, I’m worrying about my finances a lot more. A lot of Baby Boomers are probably feeling this way as they get closer to clocking out for the last time. Retirement should be about spending time with your family and doing the things you love – not worrying about if you will have enough money to survive.
Here are some simple tips that I am following and you should too.
- Make a Plan – Look ahead to the future. How much money do you need to retire on? As of now, how ready are you? Calculate your pension, investments, savingsand any other form of income you can count on in retirement. This will give you an idea if you are on track or behind schedule to have a relaxing retirement.
- Debt Free at 60 – Carrying debt in retirement is something you probably want to avoid. For most people, the amount of money you bring home each month will decrease sharply. But, if you still have debt obligations that need to be met, those payments will be taking a big chunk out of your reduced income. Try to pay off all your debts before you stop working – it will give you more money to spend on the things you love.
- Set a Savings Goal – Setting a concrete savings goal is the first step towards becoming financially secure. It may be as small as $5 a day, or as big as $2,000 a month. Thinking about that goal is going to motivate you to make wise financial decisions in your daily life.
- Stay Active – Don’t neglect your physical health when preparing for retirement. Being healthy and active will make your years of freedom a lot more enjoyable. Join an exercise group, take walks in your neighborhood, or just do some jogging. You will feel better and it will actually save you money by keeping yourself occupied and staving off unexpected medical costs.
Retirement is a reward for decades of hard work. Although it can be stressful to think about the financial side of things, you’ll be fine with a little planning. Follow my tips and you’ll have a safe and secure life to look forward to. As for me, I’ll be right beside you – when I’m not at the golf course. FORE!
Jeffrey Schwartz is the Executive Director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada and President of the Credit Association of Greater Toronto (CAGT).
If you have a question about your credit or just about finance in general, Jeff is here to help. Send us an email with your question to [email protected]. You’ll get the expert advice you need and your question may be featured here on our website.