Fall is one of my favorite times of year. Apples, falling leaves and pumpkins all in a row. Sitting around cozy fires with friends during the weekends. It gets me thinking about all the changes that this time of year brings. Just like all the changes you go through when you’re getting ready to retire.
Recently we were visiting with a group of friends which included some who are already retired and some who have yet to. One of our friends, who had retired before me, unfortunately had to go back to work.
Poor planning, higher cost of living and some unexpected life events had made it impossible for him to live on what he was getting from Social Security. He also had taken a buyout from his job, but due to a mix up with the taxes, he got less than planned on. He also had to pay out to the IRS. This was very unfortunate because he and his wife had made some big plans for their extra time together. It also made me really glad that I had invested in my retirement and made the necessary plans to insure that this did not happen to me.
I had been certain to carefully invest in my options at work in addition to other options on my own through my financial planner. She helped me to ensure that I had planned for everything that may come up, from life events to unexpected health events. We had worked hard to plan for right then, while keeping an eye on the future. We went through all the options that were available to me at the time. Some of the options we discussed were:
o Building emergency funds (money market accounts, systematic contributions, short-term investments)
o Risk management (Own-Occupation disability income insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance)
o Retirement planning (Roth IRA, 403b, 401k, 457b, pension, non-qualified accounts)
o Education funding (529 plan, Coverdell ESA)
o Benefits review (retirement plans & matching contributions, insurance options, profit-sharing plans)
After hearing from our friends about the challenges they are facing, I am so glad I made financial planning a priority. While some of our friends are not able to retire, and some are retiring with fear and reservations, I am only worrying about how I will spend my time. Retirement brings many changes and uncertainties, but knowing I have done everything I could to ensure I would not have to worry about my finances brings me great comfort.
Now I can enjoy this fall season and all its beauty knowing that I am set for all the changes that my new seasons will bring. I will enjoy the cozy fires and friends knowing that I have all my “pumpkins” in a row.