Many of us hope to have 20 or 30 years to enjoy a retirement lifestyle filled with hobbies, travel, family/friends, and fun. Can you nail down a retirement plan? It might be the difference between success and failure.
After years working and saving, most folks dream about a retirement of carefree, rewarding, do-what-I-want time. Yet jaw-dropping retirement failure stories are surprisingly common.
“Pre-retirees and the newly retired often profess a ‘retirement is great!’ attitude at first,” says Charles Kuster, author of the new Is This Your Plan to Retire? e-book ($3.99 on BookBaby.com). “But those a few years into it are often bored, may lament the wanderlust days, and go back to work. I was surprised to discover in my interviews that about two-thirds of retirements actually fail,” said the author.
You’re Probably a Retirement Rookie
“Many will hesitate to discuss their own retirement plans, and some don’t have a plan. But those who have helped their own parents are full of perspective, information – and some regrets – in regard to retirement success. I often heard the phrase, ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’,” he adds.
Missed opportunities, knee-jerk decisions, money dilemmas, unclear expectations and sour relationships appear to be quite common. “Such problems are predictable when you consider that most of us are retirement rookies before we’re knee-deep into it,” says Kuster. “It’s crazy when you think about it. You’re making important lifestyle, financial, legal, and medical decisions with scant planning and perhaps lousy communication with a spouse and/or adult children. No wonder so many retirees struggle as they launch into perhaps a 20 or 30-year retirement life. You just don’t know what you don’t know.”
How do you avoid making poor decisions? Much can be avoided with some foresight and a retirement plan.
Retirement Planning Is More than Finances
It’s not just about meeting with an advisor to figure out your financial needs. You’ll also be making choices about lifestyle and determine what activities will be satisfying, where you will live, if you’ll work or volunteer, if you travel and other decisions, Kuster notes, adding that the book’s timeline exercise offers good perspective.
Since learning from the hands-on experiences of others is also valuable, Kuster includes a few gems, gleaned from his interviews with some who served as an estate executor or power of attorney for an aging parent:
I wish I had known …
- … an executor can fire an elder’s estate planning attorney.
- … the fee a lawyer gets paid to settle an estate is negotiable.
- … there are many services available to aging parents.
- … competition for elder support services is high.
- … some retirement communities don’t accept people with cognitive issues.
- … some retirement communities don’t accept Medicaid-paid residents.
- … my parents’ true financial status so we all could have better prepared.
- … my parents’ retirement wishes and fears.
- … what my responsibilities as executor/POA/trustee were.
- … safety-proofing the elder’s house before a fall makes so much sense.
- … legal documentation (medical power of attorney, advanced medical directives) can be put in-place before problems occur and provided to health care providers.
- … mom/dad assumed she/he could move in with us.
Book Is Great Resource for Ages 45-60
Whether you are likely to get involved in the lives of an aging parent or working on your own retirement plan, there’s definitely a lot to learn. You’ll find plenty of tips in Is This Your Plan to Retire? at Bookbaby.com or other popular eBook distributors.