Nervous About Retirement? Five Questions to Ask Yourself.

It’s natural to be overwhelmed by the possibilities and uncertainties as you approach retirement age and contemplate whether it’s time to embark on the next chapter of your life. Looking back before looking ahead to determine what your larger future contains is the most critical — and frequently missed — stage in the process. I’ve developed five guiding questions for soon-to-be retirees to ask themselves in order to guarantee they’re well equipped and confident in their path — possibilities and difficulties included.

Question #1: What victories (personal, professional, and financial) am I most proud of?

When you’re ready to embark on a major life transition, it’s helpful to approach it with thankfulness. This allows you to see your future in a more clear, grounded manner, rather than from a point of dissatisfaction and ambiguity. There are victories, large and little, that you can point to and celebrate no matter where you are in life.

By conducting this exercise, which I call “measuring backward,” you might feel more confidence in taking the next big, scary step in your path, remembering and recognizing your accomplishments.

Question #2: Who will I be in retirement?

When it comes to making some of the most significant changes in your life, it might help to get a bit existential. I advise my customers to see themselves as 8-year-olds. What did the youngster do when he or she had no important responsibilities? What would you do differently if you didn’t have the pressures of a regular routine and an alarm clock to wake you up every morning? What would life be like without money and resources?

Of course, this involves some fantasizing, and I appreciate that not everyone is in a position approaching retirement where their wishes may be realized. There are, however, methods to bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and how you can make it happen.

I also believe that the individuals who are most successful in retirement are those who are moving toward something rather than away from it.

What is your most important aim for yourself in this new stage? Is it spending more time with family, taking up a new activity, or volunteering with a nonprofit organization that you’ve never had the time to devote to? Those who plan for exciting changes during this period will be better prepared for this huge transformation.

Question #3: What are my greatest threats?

Retirement planning is stressful, and no amount of fantasizing or planning can avoid the worries that keep us up at night. One of the most important pieces of advise I offer to my clients who are trying to build a retirement plan or believe they may not have enough to live the life they desire is to tackle it straight on. Avoiding and burying your head in the sand will not address these difficulties. Instead, consult with a financial consultant to analyze your current situation and map out a strategy to get you where you want to go.

Concerning the unknowns, there is no definite method to avoid geopolitical crises, inflation, health worries, family squabbles, or anything else that keeps you up at night. Again, these problems should not be overlooked, but rather prepared for.

There are several strategies to reduce some of the hazards or dangers that may arise throughout your lifetime. They may not be an issue in the end, but you’ll be ready if they appear throughout your retirement.

Question #4: How can I make the most of my opportunities?

While there are many tactical methods to ensure you’re financially prepared for retirement, it’s essential to realize that just because you’re retiring doesn’t mean you have to alter how you live your life.

I usually warn my clients that transitioning to a new chapter of their life does not happen overnight. You might have another 30 years in front of you!

That being said, retirement is an excellent opportunity to take stock and maybe reassess your asset allocation depending on what you’ll need to live on now, as well as your risk tolerance. This may be the most money you’ve ever had, so you’ll want to be sure it’s working for you while you make this move.

Question #5: How can I make the most of my strengths?

We don’t give ourselves enough credit as a culture. This is why I believe it is critical to measure backward, to come from a position of thankfulness, and to consider our strengths. Consider your achievements, attributes, or behaviors that have led you to where you are. Maybe you’ve always been an excellent saver. How can you make that work in retirement? Perhaps you have a large network of friends and relatives. How can you rely on such individuals?

At the end of the day, retirement may be as thrilling as it is daunting. This is your reminder to pause and reflect on your life so far. What do you envision for the next (ideally) 30 years?

By concentrating on the good, you’ll be more inclined to approach your future plans with thankfulness. Working with a financial advisor may help you answer these concerns, open the door to some difficult but necessary talks, and put you on the proper track for the next chapter of your life.

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