The Retirement Nightmare
Just the idea of that makes you want to grind your teeth. Retirement is supposed to be anything but a nightmare, right? After all, it’s your Golden Years. You worked so hard to get here. It’s a dream come true… or is it?
Right now, it could be a scary time to retire or be retired. Inflation (in other words, the cost of living going up) reached a 40-year high in July. Healthcare costs are even worse and the markets seem to be no help these days.
Is there an end in sight? Unfortunately, no one knows—there are a lot of cards at play. The war in Ukraine, tensions with China and Iran and terrorist groups, our heated political environment resulting in our country swinging like a pendulum every couple of years…you name it. We are all very aware of the issues.
The media doesn’t tend to give you the positive news though…and believe it or not, there is positive news! As an economy, we are still hiring, companies are still profitable, and opportunity is still being found.
Yet the fear of running out of money in retirement is more prevalent than it has been in years. And frankly, this is not the time to bury your head in the sand.
If you are taking what you perceive as “no risk” with your retirement funds, you might go broke safely because your money probably will never survive inflation. On the flip side, you can be taking risk – even the right amount of risk – and still run out of money due to other factors. Either way, that is when your retirement dream can become a nightmare.
I will never forget meeting with my grandmother the first time as an advisor. She pulled out this green ledger. It looked a little ragged because it was. She had retired a couple decades earlier with my grandad. He had passed away, and she remarried, but her discipline had never changed. She had kept to her retirement budget every month. She had a great retirement knocking off bucket list items, going to George Strait concerts and country music festivals, traveling with friends, and simply living successfully. She didn’t worry about running out of money—not because she had a lot of it. It was because she knew where her dollars were going. She knew what it took to live and was able to make wise decisions because of this knowledge. She had a plan and lived by it.
Going into retirement without a budget and without a plan is equivalent to being dropped in the middle of a forest with no map, no idea of where you are going, and no understanding of “you are here.” When you make that analogy, it is hard to imagine why anyone would ever do that. Yet, people retire every day without any of these… and they’re scared.
Sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know. The only reason we know this is through the experiences we have had over the past thirty plus years—not just ours, but those we have lived through the families we work with.
Your income and investments are critical components in your retirement. You need to get this part right. However, you can spend all the time in the world on maximizing income and investing for success and still go broke. Why? Because you didn’t build the foundation. You see—the income and investments are the tools. How do you know when you need a hammer, a saw, or a screwdriver? You have to have a plan of what you are building, and more importantly, stabilizing.
My challenge to you this:
- Slow Down! You have to make this your priority and take the time to do it right.
- Find the “You are Here” Marker: Build your budget. What do you spend? Spend some time here and really find out where your dollars are going…for everything! You may not have a green ledger lying around, but Excel spreadsheets work great. Gather together a complete picture of your retirement assets.
- Get a Plan and maintain it. Yes. You may need an experienced expert. You might not be able to think of all the caveats, the what-ifs, and know the necessary tools to help you accomplish your goals. The 10,000 plus hours that most experts apply, could pay off greatly with just the tiniest tweak to your retirement plan.
l With these simple steps, every retiree can battle the nightmares and fears of running out of money. It doesn’t mean you may always get what you want or have the perfect dream come true. But knowing the truth and what needs to be done, can at the very least bring you a good night’s sleep.