By Liz Belcher, CPA
Manager, Tax Services

As COVID-related disruptions continue and the economy keeps shifting, you’re probably not in the most comfortable headspace to focus on your personal retirement planning. But then again, retirement looks different for everyone. It doesn’t have to mean a life of binge-watching Netflix shows or lounging in the sun. You may find yourself busier in your retirement than you were in the working world. Retirement can be whatever you want it to be!

You’d think most people would relish the thought of retiring, but it can be anxiety-inducing for some, as it marks the start of a whole new lifestyle for them and their loved ones. Don’t allow the status quo expectations of retirement at age 65 corner you into a decision you aren’t ready to make. In addition to financial planning, you need to make time for activity planning, so you don’t become bored and aimless. After all, there are only so many seasons of The Office to watch, and they might just remind you of work!

In order to avoid retirement anxiety, here’s a checklist of questions you should consider as you start the planning process.

  • When do you want to retire? (A specific year or season?)
  • What are the major steps you need to take to prepare for retirement? (Who will take over your responsibilities in your business? Are you financially prepared? Are you mentally prepared?)
  • What are the main things you want to do with your free time? (Make a list of 5-10 activities.)
  • Do you want to move your homestead?
  • Do you want to travel?
  • What are your spouse’s needs/wants post-retirement? Are you in agreement?

If you are a business owner, you may not want to walk away entirely. Think about how active and involved you want to remain. Consider stepping down and taking on a lighter advisory role. Maybe limit your time in the office to one or two days a week.

Most importantly, don’t let retirement sneak up on you. Be proactive and intentional. Retirement anxiety comes from lack of consideration and preparation. So be sure to plan ahead of time and craft a crystal-clear vision of what you (if applicable — your spouse) want your retired life to look like. Also, be realistic. Know your limitations and be conscious of when it’s time for you to take a break from the business world. And make sure that break is exactly what you want it to be!

For further advice on preparing for retirement or assistance with your personal and business affairs, please call Liz Belcher in our Tax Services department at (317) 613-7846 or email lbelcher@sponselcpagroup.com.