“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius.
As you set your New Year’s resolutions, consider the steps needed to set yourself on a path for a successful retirement. While it might seem like a distant dream for some, you are more likely to be successful in reaching this goal if you start preparing today. Whether achieving ‘vocational freedom’ is your 2022 goal or 2027 goal, here are some important steps to consider.
For most people, working is a means to an end. Even those of us who love what we do have days when we wish we could “just retire already.” As financial advisors, we are often asked, “How soon can I retire?”
If you find yourself dreaming of that future retirement, whether it’s 12 years or 12 months from now, and wondering, “what should I be thinking of now to prepare for this next stage?” the answer is to begin with the end goal in mind.
First, you should take some time to fully visualize what you want your retirement to look like. How will you spend that first day? month? year? What will you fill your days doing? Will you wake up early on the first day to catch the sunrise with your favorite cup of coffee? Or luxuriate in bed late into the morning, relishing your newfound freedom? Who will you spend your days with? Do you desire the peacefulness and solitude of a cabin by a mountain stream, or the energy of a condo in the city within walking distance of cultural activities? Will you finally tackle the stack of books you have been meaning to read, or perhaps start the book you’ve been composing in your head? Will you practice yoga, join a spin class, or get outside for daily walks? Maybe you dream of traveling the world and experiencing new cuisines and cultures, or perhaps you just can’t wait to “do nothing!”
Consider who are your support people, and who depends on you for support? How old will you grow to be, and how long will your savings need to last? Will you stay in your current home, downsize, or perhaps upgrade your views or location now that you don’t have a daily commute?
What we do for a living is often tied to our own self-identity, so get ready to know who you are without work. Find ways to do a practice run. What is your purpose? Do you crave daily interaction with people to fuel your mind? Have you built a network beyond your work friends? Do you have hobbies? Do you want to start a bonus career? Or maybe you want to spend your time volunteering for a cause that is dear to your heart.
Your unique vision will determine the answer to “How soon can I retire?”
Even with good planning, the act of retiring requires a giant leap of faith. Working with a financial advisor can ensure that you are optimizing your plan and help provide the confidence and peace of mind that your plan will support your desired lifestyle for the remainder of your days.
The earlier you make your plan, the more likely you are to reach your goal. So set a date, and if possible, automate all the required savings that will make it possible.
Achieving ‘vocational freedom’ is a huge accomplishment – one that brings relief and an opportunity to make a major life change. The decision to step away from work is both a financial one and an emotional one. Your Coldstream team is here to assist you with running a sustainability analysis to provide ‘peace of mind’ that you have ‘enough,’ and to help you think through the non-financial aspects of the decision. As you head into the New Year and want to explore this opportunity, we are here to help.
In the meantime, here is a checklist of things to consider as you plan for the next stage -no matter how distant the goal may seem.