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RETIREMENT PLANNING
5 Signs You Are Not Ready for Retirement
written by Mike Ballew October 29, 2023
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Retirement is the cherry on top of a life well-lived. Doing it right requires careful planning. You might be anxious to bid farewell to your employer, but you have to be ready. Here are 5 signs you are not ready for retirement.

Number 1: Financially-Dependent Children

As discussed in Still Supporting your Adult Children?, financially-dependent adult children are the number one reason Americans are not saving enough for retirement. It’s something Clark Howard has been preaching for years: save for retirement first, then support for your children.

We have an epidemic today of failure-to-launch adults who are perfectly capable of supporting themselves. Instead of standing on their own two feet, they remain financially dependent on their parents. What do birds do when their chicks get old enough to fly? They kick them out of the nest. Are we not smarter than birds?

Cut the cord and set your adult children free. You’ll actually be doing them a favor. It’s not something that you don’t already know. You just need to be honest with yourself and do it.

Number 2: Home Mortgage

Are you 5-10 years out from retirement but still have 20 years left on your mortgage? Think you’re ready for retirement? Think again.

For starters, you should have never taken out that 30-year mortgage. For a few extra bucks each month you could have had a 15-year mortgage.

If you are in this predicament, don’t despair. There’s still time to get it right. Most mortgage providers allow you to pay more than your regular monthly payment to shorten your mortgage term. You can pay your mortgage off before you retire, you just need to increase your monthly payments.

Contact your lender or use an online calculator like the one at Nerd Wallet to see how much more you need to pay each month.

When your mortgage is paid off, you will still have property taxes and insurance, but they are much less than paying them together with a mortgage payment.

Number 3: Personal Debt

Your home mortgage is not the only thing you need to pay off before you retire. Walking away from a job with thousands of dollars in personal debt is a recipe for disaster. Ever heard of a boomerang employee? It’s someone who retires and discovers they didn’t save enough. Back to work they go. Credit cards are a wonderful convenience but they can become a trap if you don’t pay them off each month.

Number 4: Insufficient Savings

You have no doubt heard that it’s never too early to start saving for retirement. It takes a lot of money to bridge the gap between Social Security and the typical American lifestyle. Not to mention inflation and the rising cost of healthcare. Social Security was never meant to be a retiree's sole source of income. You need a significant amount of savings to supplement Social Security.

Number 5: Inadequate Planning

We’ve reached the end of our countdown of 5 signs you are not ready for retirement. Number 5 is inadequate planning. This is yet another misstep that can result in you becoming a boomerang employee. You'll tell to your coworkers, "It just wasn’t for me. Retirement is not all it’s cracked up to be."

It is if you have a plan.

If you think you’re all set to retire but you’ve got no hobbies and no social network, you’re not ready to retire. You probably think you will find something to do after you retire. You won’t. You’ll end up watching cable news all day until you go bananas. The average retirement period is 18 years. That’s a lot of cable news.

Get involved in something. Start a new hobby, join an organization, volunteer. Have a few irons in the fire before you sail off into the sunset.

Good planning dictates that you get your affairs in order before you retire. Maybe you need to downsize and move out of that two-story house. Do you really need all that space? How well are you going to climb stairs as you age?

Another consideration is your proximity to healthcare. If you’re more than 45 minutes from a major metropolitan area, you should move. You will be seeing doctors more frequently, plus if you have a heart attack or other major medical emergency you need to be near top-notch facilities.

Conclusion

Like marriage and having children, retirement is a major life change. You may not have time to prepare for some other life changes, but you’ve got all the time in the world to prepare for retirement. Create a retirement plan that not only pays the bills but also nurtures your mind and spirit.

Photo credit: Pixabay Eggstack News will never post an article influenced by an outside company or advertiser. Our mission is to help you overcome uncertainty about retirement planning and inspire confidence in your financial future.
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MIKE BALLEW
Eggstack founder, Financial Planning Association member, engineer, and software developer.