For most of us, the idea of retirement is the shiny brass ring that we’re reaching toward and dreaming about. While it’s good to dream, it’s also good to do – which is why putting plans in place for a stress-free retirement should be at the top of your list – whether you’re just getting ready to retire or you’ve been retired for awhile now
“No matter where you are in your retirement journey, there are always things you can be doing to set yourself up for carefree living,” says Kevin Defayette, Executive Director of Waterstone at the Circle. “The last thing you want is to be stressed out during your retirement years, since retirement is likely something you’ve been working toward, well, ever since you started working!”
“It’s important to remember that a retirement plan doesn’t mean your retirement’s set in stone,” he says. “It’s more of a living document, because ‘retirement’ isn’t the ultimate destination. Instead, it’s the beginning of a journey that can truly be the time of your life.”
Search for “retirement checklist” and you’ll find a lot of articles that talk about the financial aspects of getting ready for retirement. While finances play a huge role in your quality of life and your retirement future, Kevin says that there are other important things to put on your checklist that aren’t money-related.
“Money is just one piece of the pie,” Kevin says. “It’s equally important to plan for your current and future lifestyle. Looking at the whole picture will make the transition and your next chapter of life that much more fulfilling.”
Your Checklist For a Stress-Free Retirement
1. Think about what you want to do for the rest of your life.
We imagine that you’ve already dreamed about retirement (for many years, even). Now, it’s time to take those dreams and whittle them down to a specific reality. Sit down (with your spouse, if you’re married) and begin talking specifics about what you want to happen in retirement. Right now, the sky’s the limit, so go ahead and put all your ideas down. Don’t worry if you have to come back to this regularly – dreams can change as we move forward, and that’s fine.
2. Gather and inventory all your assets.
Now that you know what you want to do, let’s look at where you stand financially. Start out by gathering all information about assets you own, such as 401(k)s, investments, savings accounts, vehicles, property and so on. If you have any additional income streams (like Social Security and pensions), make sure to list those, too.
3. Now, make a budget.
List out all your expenses that you have each month. Besides the obvious (utilities, rent or mortgage, insurance, etc.), make sure you’re accounting for things like entertainment, medical payments, any one-time expenses throughout the year, home repairs and the like. If you’re not entirely sure where your money is going every month, consider using a free online tool like Mint.com to help you better figure what you’re spending money on. This will help you determine what your financial profile will look like during your retirement years.
4. Work with a financial advisor to merge your goals and finances.
Now that you’ve thought about what you want your retirement to be and figured out what you have to help get you there, work with your financial planner to help you maximize your resources. He or she will be a great resource to help you find different revenue streams, tax benefits and other potential ways to keep as much of your money as possible. Every year, you’ll want to review your financial plans to make sure that you’re planning adequately for aging-related expenses like future healthcare costs.
5. Research where and how you want to live.
Many people would like to remain in their current home for as long as possible. Others choose to move into a senior living community fairly early on in their retirement, while others may want to strike a happy medium. There’s no right or wrong answer, only the answer that’s right for you. It is important to remember, though, that as you get older, you may no longer want or be able to do a lot of things around the house that you currently manage. You may also require supportive services in order to help you live safely and independently. Moving into a senior living community like Waterstone at the Circle can be a great option no matter what stage of retirement you’re in – it’s an opportunity for you to downsize your space (and your responsibilities) while greatly upsizing your lifestyle. While you’re still active and healthy, do your research to determine where you’d like to live and how that place will help you achieve wellness in your retirement years.
6. Start downsizing and decluttering now.
Do you have too much stuff? No matter who you are, the answer is probably a resounding “yes!” Most of us have way too much stuff in our homes, due to a lifetime of living in one place and gathering things throughout the years. Whether you plan to move now, in the future or even never, it’s a great idea to start looking at your possessions and getting rid of things so you can better enjoy your retirement. First, having fewer things means having fewer things to care for … which means more time for you to do the things you want. Second, if you do plan on moving at some point, you’ll need to downsize your possessions in order to move to a smaller space. Third, downsizing and decluttering now will save your family members a lot of work in the future. This can be a great time to gift family heirlooms and items to your family members, so you can watch them enjoying them to the fullest.
7. Make a timeline.
If you’re still in the working world, now’s a great time to put a timeline in place for how you want to retire – and how you want to live in retirement. Go back to your plan that you put together at the very beginning of this journey. What would you like to accomplish in the first five years? Ten? Maybe even twenty? What will you need to do in order to help get you there? Using that information, you can work backwards to take care of details like putting your papers in order, working with a financial advisor, determining if and when you’re going to move and everything else.
“Whether you’re retiring tomorrow or twenty years from now – or even already retired – starting to plan for your retirement lifestyle is always exciting,” says Kevin. “Getting ready now really ramps up the excitement and helps you put everything in place that will help you enjoy this next chapter in a carefree way.”
Luxury Senior Living in Boston
Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it's a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and an urban lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill.
Elegant Independent Living Apartments
Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.
Senior Living Supportive Services
As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our independent living residents to receive the assistance they need.
The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.
Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring . . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our premier Boston independent living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!