Retirement on Your Terms

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My retired clients are some of the most vibrant and active people I know — and there’s no stopping them. Retirement also looks a lot different now than it did 50 years ago. People have a long list of trips they’re taking, events they’re attending, and visits they’re having with friends and family. People are also living longer and staying active, which means you have a lot of time to enjoy your post-work time. They’re also choosing to retire on their terms, not on the timeline of previous generations.

My clients are choosing a retirement that’s all theirs, but I think everyone can have that. I have also found that many of my clients start this planning by thinking about their homes now, rather than later.

Moving When You Want — Not When It’s Needed

There’s a common thread I’ve found amongst my retired clients: choosing when and where they move. A lot of people dread this phase of aging: when they’re forced out of their home due to illness or the inability to keep up with the housework. But what I’ve found is much the opposite: my clients are choosing to move out of their homes and into retirement communities or homes where they can age well that allow them to live vibrant and active lives. They’re happier than they thought they’d be, and they’re set to ride out the rest of their retirement with much more ease.

Other clients are choosing to renovate their homes so that they can properly prepare for signs of aging. Making sure they have room for chair lifts, walk-in tubs, and even main floor masters are all common areas of focus. This way, newly retired individuals can still travel, engage in all their activities, and maintain their preferred lifestyles while they prepare their home for aging well.

It’s not just the home setting where I see clients planning for a retirement all their own, though.

Control Over Your Choices

When you leave the workforce, it’s natural to have many worries about your future. Among these concerns are questions like, “Will I have enough money to retire?” and “What will I do?” But there’s also a lot of concern about the future as you age.

Questions become: “How do I plan my estate? How do I decide when to stop driving? And who is going to take care of me if I get ill?” Many of these are elements are something retirees have encountered with their own parents, and they want to be proactive for themselves and their families. In fact, as you approach and enter retirement, this level of planning can be empowering.

If you want to take control of your retirement, you’ll need to consider more than your retirement accounts. You’ll also want to think about:

  • Driving: When do you plan to stop driving? How do you want your family or children to approach you about driving?

  • Care: Who do you want to take care of you if you get sick? Do you want to have someone in your family care for you? Do you want to have in-home care or are you comfortable with a nursing home?

  • Housework: How will you manage the housework as you age? Will you hire out help or ask your family to help? If you’re married, how will you manage your spouse’s duties if they can’t manage them?

  • Travel: Where do you want to travel now? What is your timeline and at what point will you plan to stay closer to home?

  • Financial caretaking: When do you want to hand over the financial caretaking responsibilities and to whom do you want to manage your affairs?

The biggest question is: What do you want for your retirement… the entirety of it? There’s a lot to look forward to in retirement, including having the ability and resources you need to take control of your choices.

Creating Family Agreements

One of the best ways to plan for long-life planning — aside from the financial aspect of it — is to create family agreements. With a family agreement, you can plan for the day-to-day aspects of the future and have transparency on your wishes, even if it’s just you and your partner.

These family agreements can include:

  • Your wishes on moving (if you don’t plan to do so before needed)

  • Rules or “markers” that it’s time to stop driving (i.e. inability to see at night)

  • Care arrangements (who will care for you, where you want to receive care)

  • Housework arrangements (who will take care of what around the house, when to call a housekeeper)

  • Financial caretaking

  • Anything else relevant to your family

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While nobody likes to think about getting older, this is often one of the most empowering exercises for my clients. This allows you to enjoy the early phase of your retirement more because you’ve already got your long-life planning done!

To help you create these family agreements, I’ve created a really simple resource: The Family Agreements Workbook. You can download it and fill it out with your family today and have control of your later retirement, so you can enjoy your early retirement without worry!

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