Many years ago a man I knew turned 65 and he was ready to retire. Compared to his friends he had very little set aside and his retirement income was very small. His friends were amazed at the confidence he had that he could retire comfortably. For twenty five years into his retirement this man and I worked together to provide a lifestyle for him that others envied.
He travelled the country and he journeyed the globe. He returned to places of his youth and visited places of his dreams on the other side of the world. What was the magic?
First, this man was realistic about what his circumstances were. He lived within his means and he committed to budget his income carefully. Since he had not lived a lavish lifestyle pre-retirement he did not have to spend his resources keeping up with his former self.
Second, his investments were tailored to his spending habits. Given the chance, this man would have spent his money where he could not afford to. By knowing himself well he kept his money out of direct access, but received regular distributions for his trips and treats. I do not believe that he ever felt that he was depriving himself.
Third, he kept his resources where they could continue to grow and keep up with inflation. His investments were conservative, but they did benefit from a growing economy. He told me of his one- time speculation into a penny stock to help out a friend. I do not believe he ever forgot the disappointment of that loss.
Fourth, this man had a family history of a significant medical condition which he knew would lead to future health complications. Knowing that, he focused on staying fit and played the sport he loved well into his 90th year. Running and thinking and laughing, followed by a beer, surely kept him young. He also understood the value of having excellent health insurance in retirement. As his health deteriorated with age his savings were protected from the medical expenses which could have sunk his financial boat.
This man had a successful retirement by living within the parameters of the monthly checks he received, judiciously supplementing his income from his investments and not stuffing his savings inside his mattress. More than that he lived a life focused around a physical activity he loved which ultimately helped him to keep his medical bills under relatively good control. In fact, when he died there was still enough money left in his savings for several more trips around the world.
What is the lesson in all this? Careful planning using honest assessments of medical and spending habits truly can produce a successful retirement. If you would like assistance in planning your course and setting your sail, or just to chat, please contact us at CDA Inc.