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What My Dream Retirement Looks Like: ‘A Career I Love’

Gemma Hartley  |  November 1, 2019

What does your dream retirement look like? Don't be afraid to go after something you love to do. It's never too late (or early) for retirement planning.

Have you ever stopped to think about what your retirement will look like? If not, it’s time to start. Even if retirement is far off, it’s never too early to start planning. 

To get started, think about your wants and needs in retirement. Ask yourself:

  • How old do I want to be when I retire?
  • Will I travel a lot? If so, where do I want to go?
  • Do I want to spend lots of time with family and friends nearby?
  • Is there a hobby I want to pick up?
  • Will I want to work part-time? 

“It’s always important to be able to set goals,” says Jim Poolman, executive director of the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council. “You need to know when you’d like to retire, and the goal is to match up that retirement age with a retirement plan that will work for you. Start planning now. Don’t wait for tomorrow.”

Planning For What You Love To Do

I’m just shy of 30, but I think about my retirement a lot. It helps keep me motivated to work toward my goals. My husband and I would like to retire at age 60. If we have to wait until we’re 65, that’s OK, too. 

When it comes to how we’ll spend our time, it’s definitely doing things we enjoy. I see my retired self continuing as a freelance writer; it’s a career I love. With more time on my hands, I want to focus on fiction writing as well. My husband also wants to spend lots of time on something he loves to do — woodworking. 

We also both want to travel frequently — in the U.S. and internationally. I imagine we’ll eventually downsize our living space once our kids are out of the house. My dream retirement includes being mortgage-free, so we hope to be able to afford more travel. Another retirement goal is to have the financial freedom to give back generously to various causes. 

Making the Retirement Dream a Reality

To figure out how much we needed to make our dream retirement come true, we used an online retirement calculator. We figured out that we’ll need to put away at least $900 each month to keep our retirement plans on track. 

If there’s a month we have a little extra leftover in the budget, we’ll put it toward our retirement savings

Don’t Let Fear Derail Your Dreams

The biggest fear that most people have about retirement is that they won’t have enough saved to live the life they want. Retirement planning might seem like a scary task to take on right now, but try to look at it as something fun you and your partner do together. 

Keeping your retirement goals in mind help you avoid savings mistakes. The two biggest mistakes, Poolman says, is either not saving at all or not saving enough. He encourages everyone to do an annual check-in on their retirement dreams to make sure they are revising their plans as necessary.

“One of the most common misconceptions is that retirement planning has to be difficult. But that’s not true,” says Poolman. “Discuss your hopes and your dreams for retirement. Figure out where you’re at now, where you want to be, and the lifestyle you want to have when you retire. It can be so much fun to plan for.”

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