20 June 2007

What will I do when I retire?

I was talking about my pappaw over the weekend, telling my girlfriend that he retired at 55. Of course, she asked, "what has he been doing for the last 30+ years?" I don't really know. He likes to garden, has rental property to take care of, and has been involved with the American Legion, but that's not nearly enough to fill so much time.

It got me thinking. I have this preposterous goal of retiring at the age of 45. I think it's doable, as in, I think I can have the money to pull it off. But what will I do with myself? That I don't know. If I plan to live it up-- travel, recreation, etc.-- then that will raise my required withdrawals considerably. If I don't plan to "live it up," I really don't know what I'll do with myself. I can't imagine finding enough hobbies to tide me over for 40 years, if I should live that long.

So I guess maybe I should figure in some pretty serious expenses-- a couple of long trips every year, perhaps . . . the cost of several rounds of golf per week . . . tickets to sporting events . . . the list would go on. I would be spending much more on recreation than I am now, but nothing on retirement savings, of course. In the end the two may cancel each other out, and my retirement expenses would be about the same as my expenses now. But you have to figure healthcare will be a major expense, and the cost isn't going down anytime soon.

So in my figuring, I should probably think about requiring withdrawals LARGER than my current income. I haven't run the numbers yet, but I've got to think it's going to set me back-- perhaps to the point where retirement at 45 is not realistically possible. This is okay, as it would solve my "what to do with myself" problem for the first 5 years or whatever it takes to make the numbers jive. And hell, retirement at 50 is still pretty damn sweet.

I'm rambling, but the point to take away from this is that when you assess your finanancial goals, you have to really put together a picture of what you want to do. Without a good understanding of that, your financial picture doesn't mean much.

19 comments:

Kevin said...

Hi Brad -- Sounds to me like you are in danger of flunking retirement. :-)

Actually, I feel much the same. I'll want to DO something in "retirement". It may be volunteer work, it may be a pretty serious hobby (my wife and I have a dream of rebuilding a late-60's Mustang convertible someday), or I may keep working a little on the side in some little venture or another.

I'm also popular with my friends for my bartending skills -- maybe I'll open a Tiki Bar somewhere...

Beyond the Consumer said...

Instead of trying to figure out what to do with yourself, think of what you can do for other people. Imagine all the things you can do (jobs) to help others when you really don't care if you get paid or not.

Kevin said...

Back again with another comment -- should have thought of this previously!

I recently "read" (i.e.: on my iPod) Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach. He has an exceptional section in the book that helps you determine what your VALUES are -- and that's a whole lot harder than it sounds. From our values we can set our goals. Our goals then determine how much money we need.

I was amazed to realize how little I had thought about. I knew I want to retire someday, but to what end? What do I really value? I was too busy just trying to make ends meet for too long to really think about my dreams.

lmwkwhome said...

Plan early, and be ready to adjust your plans as reality intrudes.

My wife and I have recently retired, and we have developed what our friends tell us is a very unique approach to retirement travel, using a property in the south of France and home exchange to expand our travel opportunities. Our experiences, joys, problems, and many hints (travel technology, finances abroad, healthcare insurance, etc.) can be found at our blog …

www.patandlewtrave.wordpress.com.

We welcome your comments and input.

LEW WEINSTEIN

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