Maybe retirement is a few years away. You’re absolutely dying to get out of your job and have a little time to yourself. Who could blame you?
When you are making plans for retirement, don’t just focus on it as an “exit.” Be sure you’re making plans for your “entry” as well! Get prepared early for what you’re going to do in the next chapter of your life and you’ll be able to hit the ground running when the big day finally arrives!
Here are a few steps you can take now:
- Get a passport! If your plans include seeing some of the world, getting your paper work ready now can be one less thing you need to worry about later. To learn more about what supporting documents you need, visit the U.S. State Department’s website.
- Learn a foreign language. If you really want to experience a different culture, learn to speak like a native. Imagine being able to blend in and navigate on your own! You can find classes at many local venues or even online.
- Clean out the house! Getting rid of all the clutter now will make it so much easier whenever you decide to downsize. For ideas on how to only keep the things that actually bring you joy, you can’t beat Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Once you’ve identified a pile of things to get rid of, consider selling it all at a garage sale! Here’s a few tips from Dave Ramsey on how to make it a success. Or just save time and get a tax deduction by having a charity come pick it up.
- Learn a skill that can earn you a little money. Think about what you’d like to do that will let you work a few flexible hours, keep your mind engaged and bring home some money that will help you stretch your retirement savings a little further. Get certified as a tax preparer? Get a real estate license? The time you put into getting the appropriate training now will pay off in the future.
- Master your smart phone. There are so many apps today that can help make your life easier. Learn how to use them now! Ask your grandchildren for help, if you must. Examples include Uber or Lyft, which can ensure you are able to get around even after you can’t drive anymore. Grocery store or restaurant delivery apps like Grubhub can bring you a meal when you just want to stay home and binge on Netflix. Facetime or Facebook will help you stay in touch with your family and friends. Put all this technology to work for you.
- Learn about Medicare supplement options. When you no longer have access to your employer’s health plan, you may want to get some additional coverage for the things that Medicare doesn’t cover. There are many options available today – here’s one resource to get you started on learning more.
- Solidify your finances. The latter years of your career can be a great time to bolster your overall savings. The kids are grown and the house may be paid off. Use this time to sock away as much as you can! A key element of that is to pay off any debt. Don’t let car payments and credit cards balances take away from your fun years! Be sure to take advantage of the laws that allow workers over 50 to make “catch up” contributions to their 401(k) or IRA as well.
Retirement should be an exciting entry into a chapter that just may be your best one yet!