When you are preparing for retirement, some things may come as a surprise. Retirement has changed significantly over the years, as American culture and economics have changed what retirement looks like for you as compared to your parents.
Fact #1: You are responsible for your own finances.
It used to be that you would work for 40 years with the same company, retire, get a gold watch for your service, and live the rest of your days on a pension. That’s gone now, or was converted to an IRA or 401(k).
Fact #2: You will live longer than your parents.
On average, a 65-year-old in the United States will live for 19 years, and even up to 25 or 30 years. On the bright side, this means that you have years and years to spend living your best life, pursuing new dreams, and reinventing yourself. Unfortunately, you still have to pay for it.
Fact #3: Retirement planning is not just about money.
There are many aspects of living in retirement, and money is just one facet. If you have saved up all the retirement funds in the world, but do not do anything with them, you still can be lonely and bored. In retirement, money is a means to an end, rather than the end itself.
Fact #4: You have to make end-of-life decisions.
Talk to your loved ones about making preparations for the point you yourself cannot take care of yourself. Important things to remember are to set a health care proxy to make important financial decision, give someone power of attorney, and make sure your will is up-to-date.
Fact #5: You need to take care of yourself.
Retirement means that all the bad habits we had when we were younger catches up with us. However, there is still time to make good health decisions; start eating right, exercise, etc. Make sure that you maintain your health, and you will keep your body running relatively smoothly and painlessly.
Fact #6: Leave your regrets behind.
We all make mistakes throughout our life. When we reach retiremenet, an important part of enjoying your last years is just letting go of your past mistakes and regrets and looking forward to the future you have earned.