Why Should You Plan Retirement Like a Vacation

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Have you ever taken a vacation, without first planning where you want to go, what you want to see, how you are going to get there and how much it will cost?

Waiting to the last minute to decide on a vacation usually doesn’t end well. For example, it would be silly to get in your car and just start driving to England from Cleveland, wouldn’t it? But for many Americans, that is how they are approaching their retirement—with no real plan.

We all want to have a fun and memorable vacation. And we know that good planning can help to make that happen.

We have friends with two small children who recently returned from a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. Having never been there before, they wisely consulted with a travel agent who was an expert in all things Disney, well over a year before they visited. The agent talked to them about their goals for the trip, which would allow them to experience all of the magical things that were important to both the kids and the parents. They settled on a budget, which they knew, based on the advice from the agent and their situation, would allow them to have their dream vacation. Because they started early, they were able to save plenty of money to meet their goals for the vacation without much sacrifice related to their daily living. Since they have returned home, they cannot stop talking about what a great time they had and how this was one of their best family vacations ever!

Not unlike how travel agents can help to determine your goals and budget for a vacation, working with a financial planner can also help you to be strategic and plan effectively for your retirement. These days, with improved healthcare and technology, retirement can last 20 – 30 years.

One of the biggest concerns people have when they begin their retirement is running out of money.

With interest rates at record lows, it’s even more critical to plan. You wouldn’t want to take an extended vacation without putting together a plan, so why would you retire without doing so?

Here are the top 10 reasons why you should have a strong financial plan, according to a recent study by Forbes. It will:

  1. Help you define your financial goals
  2. Help you see whether your goals are realistic, especially for your timeline
  3. Help you see how you can bring your spending in line with your goals
  4. Show you what money mistakes you are currently making
  5. Allow you to measure progress toward your goals
  6. Help you find new ways to maximize your money
  7. Help you identify risks that you hadn’t thought of
  8. Make you more confident with your money
  9. Help you build wealth
  10. Help you live more comfortably

The reality is that most Americans should plan for their retirement, yet it is easy to procrastinate because we may feel like it is far away or it’s too overwhelming. Vacations have a definite beginning and an end, which is easier to view as a project. However, the time frame for retirement is unknown and the end, well, most of us don’t want to think about that yet. Even so, we should understand that Plan A may not work out and we should have a Plan B in case of emergencies, illness, downturn in the economy, or any other unexpected situation. Being aware of the possibilities puts us into a better position to handle life’s challenges.

I receive many inquiries from people in their 50’s and 60’s who have done little to prepare financially for retirement. I believe it is never too late to start planning. If this resonates with you, and you would like to begin a discussion on where you are in regards to retirement, why not get that conversation started today?