First, let’s define what retirement actually is. Retirement is a period of time when a person stops working. Retiring from a job doesn’t mean that a person will spend the rest of their lives sitting on the couch watching TV all day long. In fact, I think this would be pretty boring after about two weeks! Retirement can be much more than this. It can be an active lifestyle in which you engage in new hobbies and activities that make you feel fulfilled and happy with your life choices. Retirement can also involve going back to school to learn something new or learning something old that you weren’t able to study before due to your work schedule or other responsibilities. My bank has been offering me alternative financing options for several years, but I’ve always been afraid to look into them. A few months ago, I decided to gather the courage and look into my options for a home equity line of credit (HELOC). My bank offered me an interest rate that was lower than my current interest rate on my mortgage. I thought this was pretty awesome! It’s one of many financial products that retirees can use to their advantage when they’re finally done with work.
Retirement is also a time when people start doing things they’ve always wanted to do but didn’t feel like they had the free time or money for. My family wanted to go camping every summer growing up, but we never did because it involved getting up early in the morning and paying for campsites at places like Yellowstone National Park or Yosemite National Park (which would come out of our vacation budget). Now that we’re older, we could easily afford the campsite fees at those parks (although they are still very expensive) if we really wanted to go camping once or twice a year. We could also easily afford other vacations around the country without having too much of an impact on our savings plans if we got creative about how long our vacations were planned out. I’m not saying that we should go camping every year, but I think it’s a good example of how retirement isn’t necessarily a bad time in someone’s life.
Retirement can be great if you plan it out. But what happens when you don’t plan for retirement and it comes upon you? That’s where this horror novel part comes in: “Retirement: A Horror Novel”. (I hope my editor doesn’t hate me for using the word “novel” when I’m writing an article about something that isn’t fiction!) What do you need to know about retirement before your company offers it to you? You might want to read my post below about starting early on saving for retirement if that sounds like something that would interest you. It will hopefully give some insight into how long your savings will have to last and how much money is enough.
Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) are another subject I’d like to discuss because they’re complicated and confusing, especially if a person has never used one before. One of our neighbors retired from his job at a local company recently after being there for more than 30 years! He was able to sell his stock options through his employee stock ownership plan before he left the job so he could start receiving income from them soon after retiring from work. This is a great benefit that some companies offer their employees. It’s a good idea to ask your boss about it so you can get more information if this interests you.
If you want to retire early, I recommend reading some books on the subject and talking to some experienced people who have already retired. You can also create a retirement budget and try living off of it for a while before actually retiring so that you know what expenses are going to be coming out of your pocket from here on out, including taxes on withdrawals from your retirement plan at work. Also consider how much money will be coming into your account every month after you stop working (such as pension payments) and factor that into the budget too! If this doesn’t sound like something that interests you, then don’t worry about it! Just create an emergency fund of three months’ salary in case something happens in which you can’t work anymore or another emergency occurs due to tragic circumstances or bad luck (which is always possible). That’s enough for us at this point in our lives. We don’t need any more than that just yet because we’re still young with no kids or pets yet!
If I had done all the things I just said above when I was younger, maybe my novel would’ve been less scary by now.
I hope I’ve been helpful! If you have any advice or comments about retirement, please share them with me in the comment section below. I’m always interested in hearing what other people have to say about these kinds of things.