Congratulations!  You have done it! You’ve reached retirement, a time in your life where you no longer have to work.  You get to relax and enjoy your older years without the stress or hassle of answering to a boss or sticking to a schedule.  You are absolutely in control of your own life, and there is a lot of excitement coming your way. When looking forward to your retirement there is a great deal of financial planning that goes into ensuring a successful future.  Because you want to make the most of your years of freedom. And who said the 20 year olds get to have all the fun??

Where to Live — The World is Your Oyster

Typically when you choose to retire, you will have a choice of where you would like to live.  You may desire to stay around family or adventure off to a new destination. Without a job tying you down to one location, you are open to travel and have an adventure.  This may be a time of exploration for you. So be sure you are finding a place where you can feel happy, comfortable, and energetic in your retirement. And this can be anywhere in the world.  Check out retirement communities in Melbourne or go on that European excursion you’ve always been interested in.  If you have your finances settled and an itch for adventure, retirement may be the perfect opportunity for you.  

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There are also so many places and opportunities to enjoy within the the continental U.S.  A lot of research has gone into finding you the best place to retire.  Some of these locations are not exactly what you would expect.  Often you hear about retirees moving to warmer climates, however, if this isn’t for you there is no shame at all!  Some people would prefer to move to the snowy mountain areas of Colorado or the quaint fishing villages in Maine. Or you could go a traditional route and check out places to see on Florida’s Gulf Coast or finally live your California adventure.  Clearly, you have many options of where to move geographically, each with their own perks.

How to Live

When deciding where you want to live, you will also have to decide the type of lifestyle you would like to enjoy.  There are benefits to both a quieter, more secluded retirement or one filled with excitement and interactions.

This also brings up the question of living on your own or in any sort of a retirement community.  Nowadays, there are so many different homes and communities you can join.  There is assisted living, independent living, retirement homes, or in-home personal care if it is needed.  Consider if you need any sort of medical attention during your retirement. If so, it may be beneficial to be in a community.  However, if you are still fit and at the height of your prime, it may be overly structured and not worth the expense. Also note that some of these retirement communities may will include mostly aging individuals, so if you are retiring at a younger age they may not be suitable for you.  

Planning Your Finances

Now, let’s talk about money.  It feels like everywhere we turn as young people, we are bombarded by the nagging need to start that 401K retirement plan.  There are ads for websites of individuals to help you with your financial planning everywhere… and for good reason.  After spending a lifetime working and making an income, not having that money coming in can be an adjustment.  

While there are government funded programs such as social security, it may not be benefitting you enough for you to live a comfortable life.  You also have to take into account your lifestyle before retirement. Are you someone who enjoys indulging in fancy trips and fine dinners? If so, you will need to plan on saving a little bit more money to also retire in style.  Chances are, before you retire your checking account will be growing even as you are spending.  This may not be the case when you are in retirement.

Experts can all agree that the key to a happy retirement is planning early.  Even at as young as 18 you can start putting money away in a bank account and gain amounts of interest on it that will keep you quite comfortable in your later years (specifically, look into a Roth IRA).  If you are a little closer to the retirement age now, there are still things you can begin to aid your transition. First of all, you have to make a decision on how you would like to retire. As we talked about above, there are many options of traveling or settling down in a more inexpensive neighborhood.  Deciding how you want to retire will allow you to plan for that financially.

Planning Your Finances - Looking Forward to Life After Retirement

Once you have a plan for how you will spend your time, you need to get into a financial routine.  You most likely will be receiving a pension, Social Security, or money from a retirement fund you’ve enacted for yourself.  You also may want to find part-time work or volunteer opportunities to keep you busy. If you are compensated for anything, be sure to note that as well.  Keep careful records on your income and what your expenses are.

Staying Busy

The last, and possibly most important, step of retirement is being sure you are happy and satisfied with your new life. A community is so beneficial. Keep a social schedule and enjoy time with other recent retirees.  Though you may not be getting up and going to work everyday, you can absolutely still benefit from having places to see and go. This community will also be a support system for you to stay on track with your retirement — financially and by adding a bit of fun.