D Smith: Invest time on planning to have confidence in your financial future

Confidence in your financial future means taking steps to plan for your retirement decades ahead.

Most people spend more time planning their two-week vacation each year than planning their retirement to last many decades.

Confidence in your financial future means taking steps to plan for your decades in retirement.

You want to feel confident about your financial security now and in your future.

Spending some time on your own plan will define options for your future, with the  end result being peace of mind.

Planning is a big part of a successful retirement strategy.

Your plan should include a snapshot of where you are now and where you want to be.

Your today snapshot should include clearly defined summary of your assets and liabilities.

Make a list of all your income and expenses now.

Look into the crystal ball and do a summary of your own families projected income and expenses in retirement.

If you are the sole person responsible for your own financial future or if you are part of a couple, the summary should be based on household income.

Will you spend the same in retirement or will you spend more money or less money in your retirement years when employment no longer fills 35 to 40 hours per week?

Most people in retirement spend less money because they no longer have the expenses associated with working; no more commuting costs, no contributions to your RRSP, pension or union dues.

You may decide to downsize your home or move to a smaller community to save money.

Other retirees may have the same or higher expenses in retirement.

There is now more time and energy to spend money.

Work takes up a lot of our time and retirement means more available hours to fill.

Taking holidays or enjoying expensive hobbies means having the dollars in retirement to pay for these leisure activities.

Plan what you want to do in your 60s, you may work less hours than in your 50s and work part time.

If you think you will enjoy travel more in your 60s than in your 70s, make it part of your future retirement plan.

As we age, our willingness to travel and take on additional adventure can diminish.

As we get older, our priorities may change.

We may work reduced hours or job share. You may be able to choose to not work at 100 per cent capacity up until age 65.

Think about options for your personal review.

Some people wait until retirement to pursue their dreams. Unfortunately due to illness or death soon after retirement, their dreams never become a reality.

A couple may plan for years to take a special holiday or trip together and then due to ill health or death, one of the couple is not able to travel or has passed away.

The remaining person is now left without a travel partner or companion.

During our working years take time to spend with family and friends.

The future is unknown. We want to ensure we are in the present and take the time now to “smell the flowers” and enjoy our life today.

Review your options, make sound decisions, form a logical plan of your own and be prepared to make minor adjustments along the way.

Many retirees spend less money in retirement than they planned for, while others still buy lottery tickets in hope of living a lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Opportunity and planning means being in control of your financial well being.

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