Now that summer is underway, we’ve had several friends tell us about their vacation plans. Listening to them talk, it’s clear they’ve put a lot of thought and effort into planning their trips. That got us thinking: what if people put as much time into planning their retirement as they do their vacations?
Unfortunately, this isn’t usually the case. It’s a common saying that “most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do their retirement”. That’s a problem, because the average vacation lasts only a week or so. Your retirement, on the other hand, can span years.
We think one reason for this is because many people don’t know how to start planning for retirement … or they’re a bit intimidated by the thought of it. But planning isn’t what should intimidate you. Retiring without a plan is what’s really scary.
Fortunately, it’s easy to get started with your own retirement plan – and some aspects of it are even fun! When you get right down to it, all you really have to do is apply the principles of good vacation planning to your retirement. We’ll give you an example. Before writing this letter, we looked at a number of different travel websites. Most of them gave tips on how to go on a vacation. We were amazed at how similar these tips were to planning for retirement. So we’ve listed some of them below, along with how to make them suitable for your golden years.
|Vacation Planning||Retirement Planning|
|Tip #1 – Make a list of places you want to visit. Write down all the activities you want to do there, and what you like about each.||Tip #1 – Make a list of goals you want to pursue once you’re retired. Write down why they’re important to you.|
|Tip #2 – Rank these places in order of how important each one is to you to visit.||Tip #2 – Rank these goals in order of how important each one is to you to accomplish.|
|Tip #3 – Determine your budget. Factor in travel, hotel, and food costs. Then determine how much it will cost to do the various activities you listed in Tip #1. Don’t forget to include how much you plan to spend on souvenirs, gifts, etc.||Tip #3 – Determine your budget. First start with expenses: where do you want to live and how much will it cost to live there? What will your utilities cost? What medical costs do you anticipate having? What debts do you owe? Finally, estimate how much it will cost to pursue the goals you listed in Tip #1.|
|Tip #4 – After determining what your vacation will cost, calculate your current budget by adding up your income minus expenses. Whatever’s left is what you have to save for your vacation.||Tip #4 – Calculate your current budget by adding up your income minus expenses. Whatever’s left is what you have to save for your retirement on a monthly basis.|
|Tip #5 – Go online or consult with a travel agent and try to find ways to bring your costs down. Savvy vacationers can find deals, coupons, and tour companies that really make a trip easier on your wallet.||Tip #5 – Get together with us and bring everything you’ve written down so far. We can discuss possible ways to further fund your retirement, whether it’s through investing or something else.|
|Tip #6 – Book your vacation!||Tip #6 – Set your retirement date!|
Planning your vacation and planning your retirement aren’t exactly the same, but they’re not too far apart, either. In the end, what’s really important is that you devote the same energy to your retirement as you do your summer excursions.
Ultimately, the best advice we can give is to let us help. Give our office a call to schedule a time for us to meet. Together, we’ll go over your goals and expenses, and the income you’ll need to reach both. We’ll create a plan that shows you how to fund your retirement, how to enjoy your retirement … and how to stay retired.
Remember: planning your vacation is great for spending a week or so in the sun. But planning for retirement can lead to a holiday that lasts for years.