We got to an LSU football game once, only to discover we’d left the game tickets on the kitchen counter (stop laughing…you know you’ve nearly done the same).
That wasn’t as bad as the time we got to Disney World, four Magic Kingdom manic kids in tow, only to discover we’d done the same things – forgotten the tickets! Fortunately for us, we had a very good friend who knew how Fed-Ex overnight packages worked, so all was not lost.
But let me tell you from painful experience…it is frustrating to arrive at your destination, only to discover you forgot something!
If retirement is a destination, I’ve met more than a few frustrated souls who realized too late they’d forgotten something. It’s been a long time since I forgot tickets, mainly because pain is a good teacher. But forgetting something in retirement has longer-lasting implications that forgetting a game or a park ticket.
Here are some things we don’t want to realize we forgot…once it’s too late.
Retirement is about income streams, not account values. Saving money is a good thing. A very good thing. But it isn’t the only thing.
In retirement, you don’t look at your 401K balance and get a warm feeling inside. You have to figure out how you’re going to turn that pile of money into a stream of income that will be enough for now and enough for later. It not only has to pay for today, it also has to last for tomorrow.
Make sure you not only have a retirement plan, but you take a step further and have a retirement income plan.
Retirement involves a change of focus. While working, your life may involve a great deal of stress from work, rest from work and thinking about work while not at work.
Once retired, your mind and emotions will be free to focus on other things. You’re free to focus on family, hobbies, volunteer causes, travel, and many other things.
Will you have enough meaningful things to hold your interest and attention? Will life be interesting to you, or will it become boring and dull?
I’ve seen too many arrive at retirement, having forgotten they need a new plan for this new stage of life.
Retirement involves aging. I hope the day you retire is the healthiest, happiest day of your life. But we know that doesn’t last forever. You can do a lot to extend the health and happiness of your days, but we all age. And then we all die.
That reality carries with it the possibility of physical and mental frailty. You may not be able to stay in your home forever. You may need assistance from others to function.
Forgetting to plan for aging and frailty often puts the maximum burden the healthier of the two spouses, or an adult child with a big heart. A plan can’t keep you from aging, but it can minimize the damage by preparing physically and financially ahead of time.
My ticket fiascos were easily remedied by some quick thinking (not mine) and some good friends. But what if my forgetfulness had caused us to miss the big game or the theme park?
Forgetting to prepare fully for retirement could cause you to miss out on a lot of fun you were counting on having.
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