If you’re like most over 55s, you’ve probably thought a lot about your retirement and how you can set yourself up in the best way possible. But even the most meticulous planning can’t guarantee you’ll end up exactly where you want to be.
A recent survey of 5500 retirees and pre-retirees found that two in five would prepare for life after work differently if given a chance. Whether you’ve got a few years up your sleeve, or have already retired, it’s never too late to put yourself on the right path.
Here, we’ll share the top three things we commonly hear retirees say they would do differently if they had their time again, to help you avoid the common mistakes and achieve a happy retirement.
Get Your Finances Sorted
By far the most pressing issue for retirees is achieving long term financial security. The sooner you understand your current position and how much money you’ll need to fund the retirement lifestyle you hope for, the better. Online calculators are a great starting point as they’ll give you an idea of how you’re progressing, and an indication of your possible shortfall. However, speaking with a retirement planning expert is always a good idea – and it can be the difference between retiring comfortably or struggling to make ends meet.
Even if you have a healthy super balance, you may still need to look at other ways to top up your savings to reach your goal. This could be through extra super contributions, investments or downsizing your home. An adviser will look at the whole picture and put together an achievable plan that you’re comfortable with. Ask any retiree and they’ll likely agree, the earlier you make the call to get your money in order the better.
Find Your Dream Home
When you retire, you’re no longer tied to work, which means you have the freedom to live almost anywhere you want. Where you make your home plays a big part in the lifestyle you lead, and not getting this right is another common regret of retirees. Remaining in the family home means you’ll stay in familiar surroundings, but if you have a large property it can be too much to look after as you age. Plus, if you’re paying a mortgage, it can make money tight.
Downsizing frees up your time and gives your finances a boost, which is why it’s growing in popularity. But will you miss your space? And how do you find the right location? The best way to make an informed decision is to put pen to paper and write a wish list for your dream home. Start with the basics, like the number of bedrooms you need, and expand from there. Then, research your options and visit the places on your shortlist. And remember, if you’re looking at over 55s communities, be sure to talk to the residents, so you get an insider’s view of what it’s like to live there.
Look After Yourself
We hear this all the time, but your mental and physical health greatly impacts how enjoyable your retirement will be. Even if you’ve never really eaten well or exercised in your life, any effort you make is a step in the right direction.
The sad truth is that for many retirees, ailing health holds them back from doing the things they’ve always wanted to do in retirement. Whether you plan to travel, take up a new hobby, or enjoy an active social life, don’t let your health hold you back. If you have concerns or need a bit of help getting started, visit your GP. They can advise you on the best course of action to keep you active and healthy for many years to come.
Final Word on Avoiding Retiree Regrets
Like anything in life, we can’t know what the future holds – but what we can do is learn from the experiences of others. If you’re approaching retirement, or are new to it, speaking to family or friends who are seasoned retirees or doing some research online can provide some great insights.
No matter what stage of life you’re at, it’s never to late to make positive changes – so if you’re not quite on track for the retirement you’ve always dreamed of, start on the right path today.
Over to You
Do you have some advice to share, or any regrets when it comes to your retirement planning? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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