Even if retirement is years away, here are 6 crucial things you need to do to make the most of your retirement years.
- Take care of the big-ticket items – Have you been postponing some repair work around home, scared to even think about how much it is going to cost you? Now imagine how much that could hurt your wallet if you are not working. You might be able to live with an out-of-date bathroom, for example, but if your roof need repairing, get it done before you are on a retirement budget. Decide on what are the essential and make them happen.
- Pay your debt – This is a big one, and you probably have been working towards this goal for years. You don't want to have to pay a mortgage out of your retirement budget, or front up the steep interest rates on your credit card debt. Want to enjoy your retirement? Go into it debt free – it's that simple.
- Discuss your plans with your spouse or partner – You might have a good idea of what you want to do when you retire (if not, see point 5 below). But have you asked your spouse or partner what they want to do? If one of you wants to travel while the other wants to stay home and look after grandchildren or spend the days gardening for that matter, it could create conflict on how you spend your retirement dollars.
- Build a support network – If you are planning on moving house, neighbourhood or even city to downsize and free up some money, you will need a new support network. Being close to family is not always an option, so if you move, invest some energy in finding your way around and getting to know the locals.
- Find a hobby – Retirement is not to be spent sitting in the couch, watching TV. You've worked all your life towards these golden years, make the most of them! You will have the time to spend on your favourite pastimes. If you don't have a hobby, find one. Or find a way to stay active within your community. If you are a social person, volunteering could work for you.
- Commit to a budget – The tricky thing about retirement savings is that you don't know how long they will need to last. These days, you can expect to live in retirement for 30 years, or even more. Having a budget is essential. Overseas trips, new hobbies, visiting family and the day to day stuff all need to be contemplated in your budget.