7 Things to Do to Be Successful in Retirement

Retirement Planning

Retirement can bring a mix of emotions. Some people dread retirement as it is associated with old age and limited money-making opportunities. Others view it as a new chapter in life that offers opportunities to explore varied interests, hobbies, and passions. Despite certain benefits, retirement can be a challenging phase. The transition to a non-working, no-salary life can be difficult, which is why financial planning becomes a crucial element of a successful retirement. Adequate savings and investments can help you sustain your lifestyle throughout your retirement years. From financial planning and budgeting, to staying active and engaged, there is a lot you can do to make the most of your golden years. You may also consider consulting with a professional financial advisor on how to have a successful retirement.

Below are 7 tips on how to embrace change and live a financially secure life in retirement:

1. Create a retirement plan that you can easily follow

One of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful retirement is to create a retirement plan that includes your goals, financial situation, and lifestyle preferences. It is essential to think about how you want to spend your time in retirement, where you want to live, and how much money you will need to achieve your retirement goals. Getting to the bottom of these things can help you ascertain what you need to do in order to get to your desired way of life. For instance, a big city life can require more retirement funds than living in a smaller town. It will also determine the cost and quality of healthcare, food, housing, and other essential expenses.

Similarly, how you spend your retirement years will help you determine how much you need to save for retirement. If you wish to travel a lot, your expenses will be relatively higher than those who do not. On the other hand, if you want to be at home most of the time and live a simple life, you will likely have fewer expenses.

No matter what you want your retirement to look like, creating a retirement plan is one of the first steps and lays the foundation for the most successful retirement strategies

2. Create a budget to keep your expenses in check

One of the first things to do when you’re retired is to make a budget. A monthly budget can help you monitor your expenses and stay within your means. Managing your finances during retirement is critical, as you have a limited retirement pool to rely on. Over-spending can quickly deplete your savings and force you to work in your old age or depend on others to make ends meet. Not only does this impact your standard of living, but it also impacts your peace of mind. Therefore, make sure you have a budget in place that covers all your expenses, including healthcare, housing, entertainment, and other essential and non-essential expenses. You do not necessarily have to live frugally and can enjoy the occasional indulgence every now and then. However, remember to stay within the limits of your budget as much as possible to avoid running out of money sooner. Keep track of your spending and make adjustments as needed to ensure you do not outlive your savings. Remember to alter your budget and lifestyle as per inflation and your changing needs too.

3. Plan the use of retirement accounts rationally to maximize your contributions

Using accounts like the 401k and the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is perhaps the best advice for retirement you can receive. These accounts offer tax advantages and help you prepare for your retirement needs in a steady and consistent manner. The 401k is a company-sponsored plan and also provides an employer match where your company may choose to contribute a part of your contributions, helping you get to your target sooner. As of 2023, people below the age of 50 can contribute up to $22,500 in a 401k account. The contribution limit for people over the age of 50 is $30,000, as they have a catch-up contribution of $7,500 per annum. The contribution limit for an IRA is $6,500 for investors under the age of 50 in 2023. However, those aged 50 or above can contribute up to $7,500 with a catch-up contribution limit of $1,000 per annum.

It is essential for investors to use these accounts and contribute to them from the beginning of their careers to meet their retirement goals. Investors over the age of 50 can especially benefit from maximizing their contributions because of the additional catch-up contribution limits. These can help you bridge any gaps before retirement and finally retire with a significant corpus. 

Your retirement planning with regard to a 401k or an IRA does not stop with your contributions. How you plan your withdrawals is equally essential. One of the most crucial things to do after retirement is to get a plan in place for your retirement account withdrawals. Make sure you understand the taxability of your account, as it can differ for Traditional and Roth accounts, with the latter being tax-free in retirement, while the former being taxed. A Traditional 401k and IRA also have Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), which makes it mandatory for you to withdraw your funds after the age of 73. Failure to do so can result in penalties, which can impact your liquidity in retirement.

Therefore, make sure you understand all the rules pertaining to the contribution, withdrawal, taxability, and penalties incurred on these accounts to ensure you use them effectively and to your advantage. This also includes letting your retirement plans grow without making non-qualified withdrawals prematurely. 

4. Avoid click-bait promises of financial security and focus on long-term investing 

A long-term investing approach is one of the keys to a successful retirement. Retirement planning is an intricate process. It can take years and years of planning, strategizing, and trial and error. There is no quick way to secure your retirement unless you fall in a high-net-worth category, win a lottery, or inherit a sizable estate. In most cases, you will have to plan and save your entire life to accumulate enough funds. Retirement planning is a goal-based approach where you have to list down your goals, such as buying a house, saving for healthcare and long-term care, building an emergency fund, etc. All of this requires time and can take decades of your life. You would need to invest in a combination of different investment assets like real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), index funds, commodities, etc. Therefore, it becomes essential to understand the basics of investing and select instruments that can deliver returns in line with your goals and expectations. Click-bait or short-term investment trends that claim to make you rich overnight or in a matter of a few months seldom work. In most cases, these turn out to be scams. Even if you find any success, it can be highly volatile and speculative, and the returns may likely depend on your luck more than anything else. It may be inadvisable to use these measures to save for your retirement. The risks involved are incredibly high, and you may lose out on money, which can be hard to earn back.

Therefore, always keep in mind that the best advice for retirement security is to keep a long-term investing view.

5. Work as a team with your partner to gain double benefits and simplify your retirement planning

Retirement planning can be made easy and a lot more achievable when you work as a team compared to working alone. Couples, where both partners are working, can have an edge over others. These couples have the option of leveraging their dual income and can plan and prepare for their retirement better than others. With two incomes, couples can contribute more to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, IRAs, etc., and maximize their tax-deferred savings. Since Social Security benefits are based on a person’s work history and earnings, working couples can also accumulate more Social Security credits, resulting in higher benefits during retirement.

Additionally, having two incomes can help couples build an emergency fund, pay off debts, and contribute to other financial goals in a shared manner, reducing the burden on both. Having two income streams can also diversify the couple’s income sources, reducing the risk of relying on a single income source during retirement. It can also provide more flexibility when it comes to choosing when and how to retire. Couples who work together share the responsibility of achieving their financial goals. They can work together to create a retirement budget, track their savings, and monitor their investments. This shared responsibility can provide a sense of accountability and motivation, ensuring that both partners are committed to their retirement planning. 

Working couples can also share expenses such as housing, transportation, and food, which can free up more money to save for retirement. By pooling their resources, they can reduce their overall living costs, allowing them to save more for retirement. 

6. Maintain social connections that can help you in your hour of need

Social connections are crucial for your mental health and well-being. They can offer you companionship, comfort, and a way to pass your time in retirement. Therefore, it is vital to make an effort to stay in touch with family and friends and join social clubs or groups that share your personal and professional interests. Retirement can be an excellent time to expand your social network and meet new people. By maintaining social connections, you can learn from others who may have already gone through the retirement planning process and can offer valuable insights and advice. For example, you may learn about effective strategies for maximizing your retirement savings or minimizing your tax burden in retirement. Building a solid network can help you stay informed about job opportunities and career prospects, which can be particularly helpful if you plan to continue working during your retirement years. This can help you generate additional income to supplement your retirement savings. 

Retirement can be a challenging transition, and having a strong social support network can help you manage the emotional and psychological aspects of this change. Feeling connected to others can also reduce the risk of depression and other mental health issues that can impact your overall well-being in retirement.

7. Work with a professional financial advisor to ensure you follow and implement suitable retirement planning strategies

No one can tell you how to retire successfully better than an experienced financial advisor who has the financial know-how and comprehensive understanding of money. Working with a financial advisor can help you plan and save optimally, beat inflation by investing in suitable investment options, and be mentally and financially prepared for any unexpected eventuality. Financial advisors can help you review your retirement plan from time to time, make changes when necessary, and transition into retirement with greater ease without impacting your long-term financial security. This can offer you peace of mind, lower stress, and provide you with the financial means required to live a comfortable and dignified life without financial hardships. 

To conclude 

Retirement can be a fulfilling and exciting time of your life, but it is essential to plan ahead and take steps to ensure your retirement is successful. It is a time to enjoy life and pursue your dreams. With careful planning, preparation, and a positive mindset, retirees can make the most of their golden years and enjoy a fulfilling and successful retirement. By following these seven tips, you can create a retirement that is enjoyable, healthy, meaningful, and financially fulfilling.

Use the free advisor match service to get matched with 1-3 financial advisors who can provide some tips and strategies for creating a retirement budget, managing expenses, and maximizing your retirement income. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions on your financial needs, and the match tool can help connect you with advisors that are best suited to help you reach your financial goals and requirements.

For additional information on retirement strategies that are tailored to your unique financial needs, visit Dash Investments or email me directly at dash@dashinvestments.com.


jonathan dash

Jonathan Dash
Founder and President
Email: info@dashinvestments.com