Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Retirement Roadmap

Financial Roadmaps for one’s journey toward retirement are plentiful and are intended for readers who are en route to retirement. Seldom do you read an article directed to people who, like me have already arrived at the destination. I found one this week. A local newspaper has a piece entitled ’10 Principals for Retirement. The author Ian Forbes tells me the following.
1. Map out your goals, that is, enter retirement with a strategy in place.
2. Plan for a long and full retirement.
3. Start smart with spending, that is, don’t outlive your resources.
4. Inflation doesn’t retire, so, if you can, invest with growth potential.
5. Prepare for the unexpected, or set some reserves aside.
6. Don’t reach for yield, that is, don’t invest in suppose high yield bonds or stock.
7. Maintain a good health portfolio, that is, keep yourself in good shape.
8. Keep retirement from being taxing, that is, withdraw from accounts to be tax efficient.
9. Define your legacy, that is make sure that your estate plans and documents are up to date.
10. Remember your annual check-up with regard to your financial reserves and investments.

This is helpful counsel but Christine and I must customize the principals within our experience. Our strategy is fluid and in formation rather than in place. Our goals are short term and are open to change. I am not considering any long-term or full-time commitments for at least one year. I am painting and writing. We are going to France for two months. We will travel, she’ll learn French, and I will paint. We will touch up our house, paint etc. We are doing the travelling now in the next five years, realizing that as surely as energy has dissipated in the last five, we will be capable of less by age 70-75. I’m a realist so I spend it now. Does inflation worry me? Some! We will be careful – we always have been. I learned my lesson a few years ago when we put money in some stock with great promises and we lost during a world wide down cycle. We are not repeating that. I am going to be so low-income that taxes are not going to disturb me greatly. Yep, I need to update my will and testament, but I expect that like my dad, the legacy I leave will be more along the line of example and memories than estate and money.

I have to be careful too that I don’t strategize God right out of the life equation.

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