8 Keys To A Successful Retirement in 2023

Note:  When we wrote this back in 2017 the world was a lot different.  Real estate was booming, interest rates were low and the economy was going full steam.   A lot has happened in just 6 years.   We’ve faced a pandemic and we’re right at the beginning of a recession.   No matter who the president is, this cycle is all I’ve seen for as long as I’ve been alive.   With that in mind, we’ve updated our keys to a successful retirement.

Every person who’s been working for a long time looks forward to their retirement – the time when they could finally rest after years of labor. However, there are 8 Keys To A Successful Retirement in 2023 that have to be considered before retirement.

Decide when you are going to retire.

Figuring this number out, even if it’s just the ballpark, will go a long way into help you plan for your retirement.   It’s a bit morbid, but if you’re 50, and you plan to retire at 65, then you need to figure out how much money you need to live and how long you might live.    Conventional wisdom suggests that you should at least plan to live to 100 unless you have some significant health issues that you think will cut that short.  Deciding when is more about planning your money for the rest of your life than it is about choosing a date.   Do the math.  In our example, if you’re 50, and want to retire at 65, then you need 35 years of income.  If that was $100,000 a year, then you need at  $3.5 million saved.    Obviously, that’s an over simplified view of retirement and doesn’t take into account a lower cost of living, lower tax brackets or interest earned.
In addition, putting a date on it certainly makes it feel more real and has the huge upside of allowing you estimate how much money you need to be able to pull it off.

Make sure that you are financially stable.

Sounds like a pretty basic “key.”  However, it’s one of those things that retirees forget.   Purchasing a house, a car and running up a the credit card on trips right before or after retiring can really put a damper on your retirement budget and overall plan.   Retiring from work doesn’t mean the bills will go away. Have a financial plan that lists how much money you have, how much money you will be receiving and see if that is enough for you to live off of. With that being said…

Consult a financial planner

A professional financial planner can help you build structure into your retirement plan and help you decide how much savings you need in order to live the lifestyle that you want.  We recommend fee only financial planners.   It’s better to invest $1,500 or so with a Financial Planner that can give you unbiased advice vs talking to someone and ending up with investments that don’t really suit what you want.  This is and should be a long term relationship, but remember your money comes first.   The only downside of switching is that most financial planners, fee only included, have a set of products or investment vehicles that they favor.   Being loyal can burn you, but so can jumping from one to another, as most investment vehicles aren’t helpful until year 8 or more.

Cut down your expenses

Retiring sometimes mean less money coming in, unless you continue to work.   Let’s also address the elephant in the room, ageism is real.  Before you retire, slowly transition into living on less so that you can support your chosen lifestyle better. We could also write, “spend strategically” – for example does paying off your home make sense.  If you’ve been an entrepreneur all your life (or perhaps a real estate agent) then it might make total sense, because your retirement income might be less.  However, if you have a pension or a high social security income you might prefer to have all that equity at your disposal for retirement. A home financed is often referred to as cheap rent, even at 7%.

Realize that retirement isn’t the end, but could be the end of your working income

By understanding this, you know that you have to get ready for the rest of your life financially.  We’ve mentioned it above but one thing to consider is that your income will likely drastically reduce.  Whether it’s truly fixed like a social security check (we hope not!) or if you’re just pulling from that nest egg, just realize it’s not going to be as easy to make money as it was when you were working.

Decide carefully if you would prefer to retire full time or part time

If retirement is already in the book for you but you still have hesitations, test it out by retiring part time. This is a good test of whether you are ready to take the next step or not.   A lot of fields offer you the opportunity to work as a contractor in the same field that you worked in.  You don’t get benefits but the pay is generally good and it’s traditionally more relaxed than a corporate job.

Determine where you want to live.

This is where we hope to help! A lot of people decide to buy a new home before retirement due to different reasons. Some people want to downsize to a smaller house, or move to a state (like Florida) or community with a lower cost of living while some are fine with staying at the home that they already have. Still others choose a planned retirement community, but find out how much it costs first.  Find out if staying in the current house you live in is more efficient or if you would need to downsize.  Have you considered the different states you could retire to?  Choosing a state with no income tax might or one with an overall low cost of living, might be the ideal scenario.

Figure out what you want to do when you grow up.

After retirement, what are your plans? Travel? Start a business? Take up digital marketing,  Go back to school? One trick is to find something that you’ve always been passionate about but has never had the chance to do. It’s never too late!  There are many stories of people who have had major breakthroughs after retirement!  In fact, the idea of a second career is very popular as well.

Featured Image:  Photo by Sam Wheeler on Unsplash  Be sure to use companies that are on the AAA Credit Guide.