Retirement is seen to be the ultimate but somewhat elusive goal that we all aspire to and for which financial planners chide us that we must be well prepared. However, rather than retirement being a life changing experience that takes us overnight from being a productive worker to being permanently on holiday, retirement should be a seamless process where life is a continuous combination of productivity and pleasure, with the balance between the two simply adjusting over time. The question is, when is the best time to begin to shift the balance? It is not always easy to increase your hours of work once you have cut back. Before you take the big leap, consider these points:
- What kind of retirement do you want and how much will it cost? There will be two parts to your spending: your weekly living expenses and your lump sum expenses for things like travel, replacing your car and maintaining your home.
- Consider what your income will be, taking into account NZ Superannuation, other pensions, other Government benefits and any part-time work. Is this enough to cover your living expenses?
- Add up your investments. Is the total enough to cover your planned lump sum spending and to cover any shortfall in your income?
- Do a test run. Try living for a few months on what your retirement income will be and see how it feels. Not only will this allow you to see how tolerable your retirement lifestyle will be; it will also allow you to save a bit more.
- Do your financial housekeeping. Make sure your Will is up to date, set up Enduring Powers of Attorney and ensure all your important financial records are stored tidily and safely.
Taking these steps should give you the confidence to begin your transition to retirement.