Tips for Planning for a Fulfilling Retirement

Most of us have an idea of when we’d like to retire, but it may not be a realistic goal if we are not prepared both financially and emotionally. Whether retirement is right around the corner or down the road a bit, it’s important to understand and implement some best practices for achieving a happy, fulfilling retirement. Kyle Exline, Executive Director at The Clare, the premier Continuing Care Retirement Community located along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, shares his expert advice based on years of experience in the industry on what to do and not to do to prepare for your golden years.

What to Do:

  • Have a plan in place:
    To turn your idea of the ultimate retirement life into a reality, you must have a good plan in place. And the sooner you do this, the better. According to a recent survey of Baby Boomers by the American Association of Retired Persons, 40% plan to work “until they drop,” but that doesn’t have to be you! Residents at The Clare are happy and successful in their retirement because they planned ahead and envisioned exactly what they wanted out of their retirement years.
  • Evaluate your long term care insurance options:
    Make sure you know what your insurance covers and what your options are in terms of long term health care. With the insurance landscape changing there is a lot of misconceptions about your options. Expecting Medicare to cover everything 20 years from now is not a good strategy.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected:
    As retirement nears it’s a good idea to evaluate your assets and what you can easily liquidate. Often times we see seniors that are cash poor because their assets are tied up in real estate. A serious health issue could be around the corner and you’ll want to be sure that you are financially prepared.

What Not to Do:

  • Not budgeting:
    A recent Gallop pole shows that 2/3 of Americans do not budget. This can destroy any hope of a comfortable retirement. The importance of budgeting yourself so that your expenses do not exceed your monthly income cannot be overstated. One-third of senior households have no money left over each month or is in debt after meeting essential expense. Having a plan in place will help to maintain your lifestyle on a budget.
  • Ignore guidance and advisors:
    Not utilizing the guidance of a financial/tax advisor to maximize your retirement can be a serious mistake. As you near retirement there are significant tax implications depending on what you do with your money. Make sure you are getting sound advice from an expert in this field.
  • Relying of Social Security:
    According to a recent study by the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 36% of Americans over the age of 65 rely completely on social security. It is difficult for anyone to predict what the future holds for social security. One thing is for sure, relying on it as your only source of income is never a good idea.