Planning for Retirement

Planning for retirement is essential. Retiring brings about comprehensive changes to lifestyle. It is a recipe for disaster to stop working today and have no idea what to do tomorrow. To have thought just vaguely about the end of the working life is not good enough. There should be firm plans in place and steps should have already been taken over the previous few years.

For the past forty or so years two things have probably been of paramount importance. These are time and money. It will be the same after retirement but with a difference. There is likely to be much more time available but also less money. Without good and timely planning it is to easy to become one of the bored poor whose only outings are to the funerals of friends. All too soon it is not another’s appointment at the church. It need not and should not be like this.

After the children have left home thought should be given to trading down in house size. This may add to the retirement nest egg. All the children are unlikely to visit at the same time so there is no need to keep rooms available which will likely often be empty. If there is a large family gathering then it should be possible to call in a few favors from friends for a bed or two for a short period. Some retirees may wish to stay in the same area among old friends where current hobbies can be continued. But this is becoming a less popular option.

If the intention is to move to a better climate in a cheaper place without too much of a lowering, if any, in the standard of living then research is essential. This can take a few years. Books, travel brochures, films and the experience of others can narrow the options. Having made up a short list of possibilities the only sensible course of action is to visit each place. Vacations in the years preceding retirement should be used for this purpose. The golden rule should be “never retire to an untried place”. It is also best to be as aware as possible of current conditions. Moving to a place which provided good memories from ten or twenty years ago is very dangerous. Places, like people, change politically and socially over time. Just think of Zimbabwe.

Having picked the “Eden” of choice detailed planning is then necessary. Residential visas may be more difficult to obtain than short term holiday permits. It must be possible to access funds from the new home base either by direct transfer of pension payments or via an offshore bank account. There must be a “friendly” tax regime and if possible a range of pensioner concessions. The year round climate must be considered rather than just the high season weather. There may be a language problem not obvious as a short term visitor and perhaps driving is on the “wrong” side of the road.

It is possible to pay for information and services but it is much better to do as much as possible without such help. Web sites can be of assistance (GetVisaGoRetire). This detailed planning can be a great hobby during the last few working years. Planning such as this can be richly rewarding and comforting when the feet are finally put up.


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