Retirement Can Be the Ultimate Vacation … if You Plan Ahead.

As we start getting into the holiday season, I’ve had several friends tell me about their vacation plans.  Listening to them talk, it’s clear they’ve put a lot of thought and effort into planning for their trips.  That got me thinking: what if people put as much time into planning their retirement as they do for 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 only lasts a few weeks.  Your retirement, on the other hand, can span years.

I 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.  I’ll give an example.  Before writing this letter, I looked at a number of different travel websites.  Most of them gave tips on how to go on vacation.  I was amazed at how similar these tips were to planning for retirement.  So I’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 the activities you want to do in each location, and what you like about them. Tip #1 – Make a list of goals you want to pursue after retirement.  Write down why they’re important to you.
Tip #2 – Rank these places in order of how important each one is to you. Tip #2 – Rank these goals in order of how important each one is to you.  Have fun with these first two steps.

 

 

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 and things like that. 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 are your utilities like?  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.  (It’s okay if it’s a rough estimate.)
#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. #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.
#5 – Go online, consult with a travel agent, or check out a travel book 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. #5 – Get together with me 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.
#6 – Book your vacation! #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 I can give you is to let me help. 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 few weeks in the sun.  But planning for retirement can lead to a holiday that lasts for years.

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