Testing Your Retirement Budget

Testing your retirement budget

If you've always enjoyed spending right up to the limits of your income (or even exceeding them) whilst you've been working, how will things need to change for you when you retire?

Most people have to have some sort of budget in place once they retire - after all, there aren't many people who would tell you that they have so much money from their retirement income that they'll never again have to worry about their cash flow.

If you're worried about your ability to cope on your retirement income, give it a trial run for six months now to see how you get on. This is easy enough to do:

1. Find out what your projected retirement income will be.

2. You're going to need two bank accounts. The first is your current account which you're going to use as your 'pension account', i.e., the account in which you keep your projected retirement income and the money which you'll live on for the next 6 months. The second account will be a deposit account and you'll 'sweep' the difference between your net salary and your pension into this.

So, for example, if you were expecting a total monthly retirement income of £1000 and you receive a salary of £2000, on pay day, you sweep the excess £1000 from your current account into your deposit account, leaving yourself £1000 to live on for the next month.

3. After you've done this for 3 months, you'll be able to tell if you're going to be able to cope on your projected retirement income or not. If it becomes obvious that you're going to struggle, you have time to do something about that situation now. Maybe you need to have a word with your employer and arrange to continue working a little longer to accrue more pension savings. Or maybe you could get a part-tine job somewhere else. Or start a retirement business.


Create Your Own Bucket List

Bucket list
How many things have you done in the last five years that you consider to be meaningful? You can bet that you’ll have even more meaningful experiences over the next five years if you create a bucket list.

You might consider a bucket list to be silly or something that you should have done earlier in your retirement, but it’s never too late to start examining your life and prioritizing your time.

Create a bucket list that fills you with enthusiasm:

  1. Start with childhood. You had a lot of great ideas when you were a child. You’ve forgotten many of them or dismiss them as silly childhood dreams. Now is the time to dust them off and reconsider. What did you want to do and see as a child?

  2. Check out other bucket lists on the internet. You’ll be amazed at some of the things you’ll find that you’ve never considered. Get inspiration from others.

  3. Brainstorm. Take an day to work on your list. Turn off all your electronic devices and allow your imagination to run wild. Write down everything that comes to mind without judging it. You can evaluate your list at another time. It might be easier to come up with ideas if you consider particular categories one at a time.

  • Travel. Where have you always wanted to visit? Consider places near and far. Maybe there’s a famous burger joint in the next town or a state park you’d like to visit. Remember that the world is big, but largely accessible. In one day, you can find yourself anywhere on Earth.

  • Sports. Have you ever wanted to try hang gliding or learn how to ice skate backwards? Run a marathon or try deep sea diving?

  • Adventure. Ride a camel across the desert? Fly in a helicopter? Try your hand at zip lining? Ride across the US or Canada on a motorcycle? Swim with dolphins?

  • Events. Maybe you’ve always wanted to attend a Super Bowl or watch the Rolling Stones live. Do you have a favorite comedian you’d like to see? Watch the northern lights? Watch a famous opera or ballet?

  • Creativity. Write a book or song? Learn to play the banjo? Take salsa dance lessons?

  • These are just a few ideas. What other categories come to mind?

  1. Give yourself a week to continue adding to your list. You’ll find that new ideas pop into your mind at random moments. Keep adding to your list and don’t worry about the length. You can pare it down to size later.

  2. Ask your friends for ideas. Find out what your friends have put on their bucket lists. You’ll get a few more good ideas, as well as a few suggestions.

  3. Prioritize your list. Rank your big list from most desirable to least.

  4. Make plans for this year. Starting at the top of your list, which items could you do this year? What do you need to do to make this happen?

  • Decide what you can do to overcome your limitations and put your plan into action. Once you’ve set an objective, it’s important to take a first step as soon as possible. Show yourself that you’re serious by making preliminary plans.

Now that you have a good bucket list, get busy crossing off items from your list! Making a bucket list is valuable because it requires you to think and prioritize. Think carefully and rank your list items. Creating a bucket list can help ensure that your life remains exciting and fulfilling in retirement - and will, hopefully, leave you with fewer regrets at the end.


It's surprising what you'll miss...

Car park spaceIf you can't wait for retirement and you've already started checking off the days on your calendar, you may be surprised to find that, once you retire, there are some things you might miss about work.  

1.  You might miss the challenge of the work you used to do.  Well, you probably won't miss the stress that used to accompany the challenge, but the feelings associated with being challenged - feeling stretched, the pressure to come up with solutions to a problem and the satisfaction of overcoming the odds when you succeed.

2.  Many retirees miss the daily banter that is part and parcel of being at work - the jokes, the witty repartee, the sarcastic quips and the camaraderie.

3.  Retirees who had fairly eventful jobs have reported that they miss the drama associated with being at work - and that even though the drama could be stressful, it was never boring.

4.  Other retirees have said that, now that they're retired, they long for some responsibility.  Even the ones who had found work after retirement tended to be working in part-time jobs that were fairly undemanding. They often found these jobs to be unfulfilling and longed for some responsibility and the satisfaction of having done a good day's work

5.  Many retirees report that they miss having some space between them and their partner - this came from both male and female retirees.  Females were concerned about husbands getting under their feet.  Males were concerned about being at the mercy of their partner's  'just do lists'

What do you think?  Have you recently retired and found yourself bumping up against some unexpected feelings and emotions?  Do you know someone who retired and found themselves struggling to cope with no longer being in the workplace?  What will/did you do to help you get over it?