Ready to retire? 5 steps to getting a good night’s sleep after the paychecks stop

For Life After 50

Those early days of retirement can be exciting as you are finally rewarded with a little rest and relaxation after all those years of toil.

But it can also be a bit unsettling when the regular paychecks you counted on stop appearing in your bank account.

That’s why anyone who’s still a few years away from retirement should ask themselves: Am I ready for that moment both financially and emotionally?

The answer could come down to whether you have a solid retirement plan—or a plan at all.

“Regardless of how much you accumulate for your retirement, poor planning or lack of planning can put you at risk of exhausting your resources,” said Tad Hill, a retirement planner and author of “Retire with Freedom.”

According to Hill, people nearing the end of their working years should follow this five-step process for a more secure retirement:


1) Create your ideal picture of retirement.

What is it you want out of retirement? To travel? Volunteer? Spend time with grandkids? The first step isn’t about your financial portfolio; it’s about forming a clear image of your ideal retirement.

“Otherwise, even though your money may last the rest of your life, you may never achieve your dreams because you’re unclear on your dreams,” Hill said.


2) Put your situation to the “stress test.”

With the help of a financial professional, give your retirement plan a “stress test.” That can include reviewing how to best maximize your Social Security benefits and examining how your portfolio might perform under a variety of market scenarios.

“Analyze all the factors that could affect your retirement plan over the next few decades and create a strategy for dealing with those risk factors with as much certainty as possible,” Hill advised.


3) Design your plan.

Designing a retirement plan is much like creating the blueprint for a house. These blueprints, however, identify strategies available to help minimize risk, increase certainty, avoid excess taxes and assure a sufficient retirement income.

Some concerns that need to be addressed include income, investment, health care, tax and legacy planning.


4) Build the plan.

It’s time to implement your plan.

“That can mean making changes to your current structure, adding some things and getting rid of others,” Hill added.


5) Seek continued guidance.

Even a great retirement plan may need tweaks and adjustments over the years.

With his clients, Hill holds a regular yearly consultation to help ensure they are on the right pathway to retirement success at all times.

“You need to look at whether there are things that have changed in your life that need attention,” he said.

It’s important to remember that there are no guarantees of anything in life, including retirement plans.

“But taking action to create a solid and well-thought-out plan for this important part of your life is a critical first step,” Hill said.


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