If you’re still managing the daily grind, you may be dreaming of the day when your retirement rolls around. “When I retire, I’ll finally be able to relax,” you may be telling yourself, imagining that without a job to report to, relaxation will simply become your default mode—much the way stress is today. I hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not quite how it works.
The truth is, it’s not the ample time available in retirement that cultivates relaxation, it’s the preparation you do in advance. After all, if you find yourself without an income and more expenses than you had originally accounted for, your days certainly won’t be worry-free—no matter how many unscheduled hours you have on your hands. You also won’t necessarily be able to afford the luxuries that make retirement a walk in the park: golf, trips to see family and friends or to explore exotic locales, yoga and exercise classes, and more—you may be limited to the walk itself.
Still, time after time, I see people bring a totally different mindset to saving for retirement than they do to living in retirement. While they can barely be bothered to come in for an annual review of their portfolio when they’re still working, after retirement they watch their account like a hawk, panicking with every market fluctuation.
But if they’ve been working with me for a while, we’ve been preparing for the inevitable ebb and flow of the markets—ones they have undoubtedly experienced over the years. They can breathe easier, because we’ve created enough of a cushion to allow them to actually enjoy their retirement, regardless of what the markets are doing.
However, their anxiety is only natural. Moving from work to retirement is a monumental shift. They’re transitioning from working to live, to living off a lifetime of work—all on a dime (though hopefully not literally), and it’s only logical to be concerned about whether they’ve done enough in advance.
But you can certainly assuage some of that fear and up the chances that retirement will indeed be as relaxing as you imagine. The way to do that is to put in the effort now, well before your last day on the job. And luckily, you can start making progress toward a less stressful future with two easy, but crucial, steps:
- find and work with an advisor your trust who upholds the fiduciary standard, and
- help that person understand what relaxation looks like to you, so that they can help you get there
It sounds simple, but it will make a tremendous difference in your future—and how you feel about it. For more insight on finding an advisor who can help you meet your financial goals, visit debrabrede.com.