Retiring on Your Own Terms

What does “retiring on time” mean? For us, it means retiring on your own terms – being comfortable and confident about when you start your next chapter of life. When looking to retire on time there are lots of things to think about, and it’s a very personal decision that only you can make. There are questions you must consider to be able to support the life you want to live in your nonworking years.

Defining Your Retirement Goals

No matter where you are in your career, it never hurts to start thinking about what your life looks like when you finally don’t have to clock in every day. First, consider what you want in retirement, so that you can devise a plan to get there. Think about these questions:

  • When do you want to retire?
  • Why do you want to retire?
  • What does your life look like in retirement?

Plenty of people retire with no plan of what they want to do, and end up bored and miserable. Travel, volunteering, and picking up new or old hobbies are all common retirement activities that can bring joy in the years ahead. 

The Shift from Pensions to 401(k)s

With this lifestyle in mind, it’s time to plan on how you will financially support it. However, with shifts in employer sponsored benefits, making the decision on when and how you intend to retire may be even more difficult than before.

We’ve seen many trends come and go over the past few decades: pagers have been switched for smartphones, video rental has become extinct due to all the streaming services, and for many employers – pensions are out and 401(k)s are in. When Americans were unironically rocking acid washed jeans and scrunchies, pensions were the primary source of retirement income. Through these plans, the employer would be responsible for funding the employee’s pension for the duration of their career. Then, after the employee retires, they would receive their pension benefit: guaranteed income during their non-working years.

Taking Financial Responsibility for Retirement

Now that many employers have transitioned to 401(k) plans, it’s the employee’s responsibility to ensure they – themselves – are retirement ready. This means employees need to have a solid understanding about their finances so that they can plan and prepare accordingly for their retirement years. Having an established foundation of financial wellness can help ease this  burden, but planning for retirement can take extra consideration.

Understanding Cash Flow Analysis

You will need to consider your money coming in, and your money going out. Funding your retirement plan requires a combination of Social Security, employer-based retirement plan assets, personal savings, and investments. For expenses, you will need to not only consider your usual day to day expenses, but also healthcare, tax implications and others. This is called cash flow analysis. It’s unique to every person, and should align to meet your individual needs and goals.

The Role of Financial Wellness in Retirement Planning

And this is where financial wellness can really shine. Established financial wellness programs should provide education and support for managing money and understanding how their company benefits integrate into their overall financial picture. Additionally, these programs should provide employees with tools to help them plan for both their short-term needs and long-term goals. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, including workshops on specific financial topics, access to financial wellness platforms to help employees manage and forecast their money, or personalized coaching from a licensed financial professional.

Providing employees with a solid foundation of financial security well before their retirement, can help them leave the workforce with confidence. If done successfully, employees will be empowered to make lasting change and take control of their finances for good.

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