Retirement is something that everyone in the workforce looks forward to. A long-term reward for decades of hard work, retirement is something of a transitionary period. There's more to it than simply not working and collecting social security and any other benefits. There are quite a few things to consider in preparation. These are five questions to ask before you retire.
1. Do you have enough saved up?
One of the most crucial things that people don't prepare for with retirement is saving money. Social security benefits are a nice thing to have, but they can stretch thin. Those who are retiring should have multiple nest eggs, such as a personal savings account, a 401k, and a Roth IRA. Even if you're decades away from retiring, you need to start saving now. Put a portion of your paycheck each week in a retirement account. One that can accumulate interest is your best option. When it comes time to retire, you'll be relieved by your foresight.
2. What are my expenses like?
Retirement doesn't mean that you can live like an absolute king. While you won't have to work, you will have to pay bills as always. The best-case scenario is that you're able to live as well or better than you did when you were working. However, you should still be mindful of your budget and tweak it as necessary. Retirement is a great chance to travel, so make sure you have at least some money put aside for a luxurious vacation.
3. How is my health?
Health issues can start to creep up at retirement age. Even if you've been doing reasonably well, it's still good to get a checkup to address any possible health problems before they get serious. You should hopefully have a good healthcare plan. No matter what, make sure you're keeping up a healthy lifestyle. You want your golden years to be as gratifying as possible.
4. How should I take my pension?
If your employer offers a pension plan, you have two options: take it all at once as a lump sum or receive it piece by piece in monthly installments. The option you choose depends on factors such as your health, tax bracket, and any plans you have for the money upon when you pass away. Monthly installments are taxed, but they can make it easier to budget as opposed to receiving it all at once. If you can't decide, consider talking to a consultant. Offering advice on financial matters is one of the most important things consultants do.
5. Are you ready to retire?
Even if you're in good health and have plenty saved up, you might not be ready for retirement. Many people enter retirement not realizing how much they appreciated the routine of going to work and having things to accomplish on a daily basis. They can find themselves feeling restless as they work to adjust to this new reality. To make the transition as smooth as possible, make sure you are using your retirement to take advantage of all the opportunities that it presents, from spending more time with your family to taking up a new hobby.
Asking these questions before you retire doesn't make things more difficult. In fact, it can help make things easier by helping you realize what you need to prioritize during this critical time in your life. Your retirement is something that you've earned through your years of effort and dedication. When you have everything in place, it can be enjoyed all the more.
Author Bio: Douglas Pitassi is a freelance writer and small business blogger.