5 Retirement Excuses You Can’t Afford to Make
Are you making excuses to avoid thinking about retirement? Sometimes people say they’re not ready to retire because they’re afraid they can’t afford to retire. Even if you really don’t want to retire anytime soon, don’t let these five retirement excuses stand in the way of making your retirement plan.
1. “I’ll Be Bored in Retirement”
The stereotypical retiree spends lazy day after lazy day sipping coffee on the porch or puttering around in the garden. You might cringe at this picture of your future—but your retirement years can be much different. In fact, leaving your day job can free up time to pursue a new batch of interests.
You can overcome this excuse by thinking of retiring as stepping away from your current career and into another “job” role. This new job can be less demanding and more flexible than your current job; what’s important is that in your mind, you’re not giving up a full life for an empty one.
Whether it’s an easier job than your old career (like ushering for your local theater) or an emotionally fulfilling role (like being the “official” babysitter for your grandkids), now can be a good time to brainstorm possibilities for your golden years. Then you can make sure your retirement fund is in place to make those possibilities a reality.
2. “I’m Going to Work Until I Die”
Many Americans believe they’ll be working until their last breath—and while some believe it because they don’t have retirement savings, others genuinely like working and couldn’t imagine retiring from the career they love.
Unfortunately, 1 in 4 adults will become physically unable to work before they can retire, according to the Council for Disability Awareness. And even if that doesn’t happen to you, the time may come when your employers start gently suggesting that they’d like another person for your role.
You may not want to leave, but whether it’s due to disability or staff restructuring—or, perhaps, a pandemic like the one we are experiencing now—the choice may not be up to you. It’s best to be prepared to retire even if you don’t think you’ll want to. You never know when—or why—you’ll need to leave your job.
3. “I Haven’t Saved Enough Money”
If you started saving late in the game or suffered setbacks to your personal finance and long-term goals, it can be easy to put off retirement because you don’t feel prepared.
You can start by assessing the strength of your retirement savings. An online retirement calculator can help you determine whether you are on track.
Retirement might be more within reach than you think. And even if you truly aren’t ready, it’s better to have a solid plan you’re working toward than a vague feeling that you don’t have that magic number in your retirement account.
Make sure to consult a financial planner who can walk you through both the big picture and the finer details of what retirement can look like for you, and help you set up a financial plan.
For example, our Richmond, Va.-area financial planning firm works with clients to build retirement plans based on their vision of a “Perfect Day” in retirement. We review their financial situation to help determine whether their personal finances are on track for their vision. And if not, we recommend comprehensive strategies to help.
4. “It’s Easier to Keep Working”
When it comes to putting off retirement, many people are simply afraid of change. It’s easier to be satisfied with the status quo than to think about making a major adjustment to your life.
You might be afraid to walk away from the security of a regular paycheck, or you may not trust that you’ve reached a sustainable retirement portfolio. Rather than make a serious analysis of your financial situation, you’d rather keep working and push thoughts of retirement to another day.
This urge is understandable, but in the long run, you’ll be glad if you take a clear look at your situation sooner rather than later. Find a financial advisor who does more than give you general advice on your investment portfolio. Look for one who can be deeply involved in your retirement planning and help you understand what it’ll take to move into the next phase of your life.
That way, you can work with intention—not out of passivity.
5. “I Need to Save for My Kids’ College”
The average age of parents is rising, which means that for many in the United States, children are nearing college age around the time their parents are starting to consider retirement.
If you’re becoming aware of how much your kids’ college will cost, try not to give in to the “fix” of putting off retirement to shift more money into their college funds.
Keep in mind that your children’s earning power will likely increase, but your timeline to fund your retirement will shorten as you age. Though accounts like 529 plans can help fund your children’s education, make sure your contributions don’t hurt your ability to retire.
A potential solution? Shift some of the responsibility onto your children to help finance their tuition. Encourage them to find scholarships, pursue colleges with more affordable tuition, consider going to a community college before they attend university, and work side jobs to cover part of the cost. They might also need to take out student loans for part of their university costs.
Not only will doing this help teach your children fiscal responsibility, but you won’t be sacrificing your future for their present.
While it can be easy to let excuses get in the way of retirement, they’re just that: excuses. Even if you really don’t want to retire yet, it’s always smart to look at your situation head-on. Consult a financial advisor, make a plan, and don’t be afraid to consider the next phase of your life.
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