Without goals we lack focus, and without focus we’re much less likely to succeed. That’s certainly true when it comes to planning for retirement. The idea of identifying your retirement goals can seem daunting, and it’s often why many people fail to do it. Regardless of how scary it may seem, setting goals is an important first step toward achieving retirement success.
A good place to start is to identify when you plan to retire. For many, 65 is a realistic retirement age. That’s when Medicare benefits start, and you can also begin to collect Social Security. However, it would be at a slightly reduced rate compared to waiting until full retirement age, which is somewhere between 66 and 67 for most people.
Once you’ve determined when you want to retire, you’ll be ready to identify your specific retirement goals. For example, do you plan to stay where you are or move? If you’re considering several places, try to narrow it down – especially if the cost of living would differ greatly in one choice compared to another.
Next, take the time to visualize what your day-to-day life will be like in retirement. What specific activities will make you happy and fulfilled? Playing golf, fishing, going out to dinner several times a week? Do your goals include traveling? If so, where to and how often? Don’t worry too much about how feasible it might be. If it’s something you really want to do, make it a goal and write it down.
Finally, consider if you’ll want to make a major purchase when you retire, like a vacation home or a boat. If so, include it as one of your goals.
Now congratulate yourself, because you have specific retirement goals! The next step is to work on identifying a financial strategy that can help you achieve those goals. If you are like most, it will likely be a strategy focused on generating steady streams of income that can cover all those fun activities you have planned for retirement.