This article covers the first, and arguably the most fun, step in my 10 Step Layman’s Plan to Retirement Planning. Here we begin to describe our dream retirement. Let’s look at six aspects of retirement life to help us paint this picture.
Location – Where do you want to live?
The first possibility is that you are happy just where you are; why move? If this is the case then move on to the next aspect. If not, then read on.
CNBC News says these are the top spots in the U.S. for the Baby Boomers:
- Loveland/Fort Collins, Colorado
- Las Cruces, New Mexico
- Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
- Portland, Oregon
- Greenville, South Carolina
- Sarasota, Florida
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Tucson, Arizona
- Montpelier, Vermont
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Northampton, Massachusetts
- San Diego, California
If you’re looking for an international location then Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons recommends:
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- Languedoc-Roussillon, France
- Boquete, Panama
- Cascais, Portugal
- Le Marche, Italy
Home – What living quarters would you prefer?
If you plan to stay in your home during retirement then that’s always a great option. If you would rather move then let’s consider some options.
A single family residence provides extra space and privacy. However, there is more maintenance and cost. The care needed to keep a large home well maintained can become more difficult in later years. If possible, consider single story dwellings as well as properties that have easy access for wheelchairs; you may not need this now but you may in later years.
Condos and townhomes are a great alternative. Less cost, less care and you can still have great community facilities like swimming pools and hot spas. Just beware of the association fees as they can be considerable and they are usually not tax deductible.
Yet another alternative is an apartment home. Popularity of apartment homes varies by region but they can be a great alternative if you want to live in a desirable area and don’t need a garden patio.
What about retirement communities? They are a fantastic option if you want to be around other retirees, want to have conveniences targeted at retirees nearby (medical, entertainment, etc.), have access to assistance in performing daily chores (grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.) and have fun playing golf, card games and other arranged activities. These communities can offer house, condo and apartment living options.
Activities – What fun things do you want to do while in retirement?
If you are active in sports, like bicycling, golf, tennis or enjoy going to the gym and plan to continue this activity during retirement then you’ll likely be healthier and happier during retirement. Many of these activities may cost you a bit to participate in but the health benefits far outweigh the costs.
What about hobbies? Here are some hobbies you may want to pick-up (try two or more!):
- Dancing – good for your health too
- Painting – can be very relaxing; who cares if you’re not a Picasso
- Gardening – maybe grow your own food?
- Model Building – cars, boats, airplanes
- Internet Blog – share your thoughts and experiences with the world
- Photography – with the new digital cameras it’s much easier and more fun
- Volunteer – how about helping an animal shelter or charity fundraisers?
Another activity that may fit into your plans is to join the many clubs that cater to common interests. Here are just a few:
- The Rotary Club
- Card game groups
- Book clubs
- Sports team aficionados
- Form your own
Finally, there’s nothing quite like lying down in a comfortable chair with a good book. It seems like every time I go on vacation one of my favorite things to do is sit by the pool or under a palm tree and be taken away by a great page-turner. For many of you book-lovers this is an activity that you do just about anywhere and it doesn’t cost a fortune!
Travel – Do you want to see the world?
What does travel mean to you? Here are some idea starters to help you decide the type of travel you would like to do:
- Cruise ships to exciting ports – lots of exotic places to see
- RV around America – It’s like taking your home with you
- Railway – Take the train. You can sleep, eat and enjoy the sites on the way to your destinations
- Open Top – Get a convertible and visit bed-and-breakfasts
- National Parks – Think Yosemite, Yellowstone or any of the 386 other parks in the U.S.
Family & Friends – Who are the people you want to be around?
Retirement happiness is not just based on the location, activities and travel that you do. It’s also about the people that you have around you. So think about who these people are. Here are some common ones:
- Other family
Work – What? Thought that retirement meant not working? Think again.
Many people look forward to retirement in order to start that new business that they always dreamed of but knew couldn’t support them financially. Here are some examples:
- Photographer – time to take that hobby and turn it into a business
- Travel Advisor- check with your tax advisor but you may be able to take free vacations
- Small Shop – Flowers, model trains, antiques, etc. Again, turn you hobby into a business
- Web Store – There are tons of web opportunities including being an on-line consultant, design web sites for others and Internet research
Having a business during retirement is a great way to add extra income and keep your mind sharp!
Well that’s it; hopefully this information has helped you create your ideal retirement. Make sure you write this information down since it will be used in later steps of the 10 Step Layman’s Plan to Retirement Planning.