Retirement is really supposed to be the best years of your life. For some this is a reality, but for others reality is not so promising. What makes the difference between a prosperous, happy retirement versus a retirement filled with stress and worry?
I recently had a reader write saying that the only people who understand retirement are people who are retired. I think there is some truth to this so I went to some of my clients who are already retired to try to find out what things they thought were keys to a successful retirement.
Plan ahead. John and Sylvia have recently retired and despite the state of the markets, they are grateful they planned ahead. It was through planning that they set some goals and determined what they needed to do to retire. Their circumstances have changed over the last 5 years but the plan kept them on track and their goals were reached. Too many people fail to plan their retirement properly.
Be conservative in your assumptions. Assumptions are an important part of any retirement plan. Too often assumptions do not leave room for variability or margins of error. According to John and Sylvia, “it is better to be conservative with your assumptions for rates of return, inflation and spending. Specifically, we are thankful that we did not project our investment returns at 10% to 15%.”
Have a diversified portfolio. Ray and Betty have been retired for only 2 years. They are concerned about their portfolio but are happy that they added some income trust investments to their portfolio for income. In their words, “Make sure you have a diversified portfolio of investments. We have a diversified portfolio of GICs, bonds, equities and income trusts. At a time when stocks are losing money, we are very happy that we have other asset classes to balance the portfolio.”