If you’ve delayed planning for retirement because it makes you feel a) old or b) financially inept, think again. With a little foresight, you could be out there enjoying life like other people — maybe even before you reach the so-called “retirement age.”
Like many people in the prime of life, it’s not unusual to think of retirement as such a distant idea that you avoid saving for it until next week, next year, next job. After all, who’s got time to think about the “R” word? In reality, it’s never too late, or too early, to start planning for retirement.
Retirement used to be defined as what a person was no longer doing. More and more, however, retirement has come to mean what a person is can do. Choosing a second career. Traveling to see the world. Volunteering in the community. Taking on a new hobby. Taking care of grandchildren.
If Mondays find you heading for the highway to work, but you’d rather be heading for the golf course to play, it might be time to consider your financial future — even if you’re among the three out of four people who hate financial planning.
“You don’t need to be a financial wizard to start thinking about early retirement,” says Randy Schuldt, vice president with IHateFinancialPlanning.com, a Web site devoted to the 75 percent of people who hate financial planning. “With some simple steps, you can take control of your financial future before it starts controlling your dreams.”
To help better understand what’s involved in retirement planning, IHateFinancialPlanning.com has developed a 10-minute quiz — an early retirement calculator of sorts — that will help determine your state of readiness. If your score points to a lifetime of enduring the daily grind, a visit to IHateFinancialPlanning.com or a meeting with a financial planner might help perk up your financial future.
IHateFinancialPlanning.Com Early Retirement Readiness Calculator
- I dream about my retirement
- All of the time
- Only when work drives me nuts
- None of the time
- I know exactly what I want to do when I retire
- Yes — in fact I’ve identified the date
- Too many choices to decide
- No — I’ll be too old anyway
- IRA stands for
- Individual Retirement Account
- Irish Republican Army
- IRA — you mean my cousin Ira?
- I regularly contribute to my 401(k) at work
- At the maximum amount of money allowed
- As much as I can afford
- I expect my health insurance costs to decrease as I get older
- I’m not planning on getting older
- If I pay off my mortgage before I retire I will be able to
- Pocket up to $250,000 in tax-free profit on the sale of my home
- Barely scrape by on my other bills
- Guffaw loudly because only rich people can afford to do that
- I can phase into retirement if I
- Plan ahead for big ticket items that might tempt me to draw on investments too soon
- Take a one month leave from my current job to test the waters
- Just up and quit
- The cost of inflation
- Is expected to rise from 2 to 4 percent per year
- Is always changing
- Will have no effect on retirement plans
- The nation’s Social Security program
- Will eventually run out of money
- Will cover only some of my retirement costs
- Will always be there for me, just like it was for my parents
- Disability income insurance is
- A good idea, since there’s a 42 percent chance I’ll become disabled between the ages of 30 and 50
- Something you should buy if you have a disability
- Only for old people
- A fixed-rate annuity is
- A contract with a life insurance company designed to provide for a regular stream of payments at a later date
- Too complicated for me to worry about
- Considered to be a risky investment
- The key to early retirement is
- Having a retirement goal
- Having a job with a good retirement plan
- Winning the lottery
Give yourself 3 points for every “A” answer; 2 points for every “B” answer; 1 point for every “C” answer.
36 points: Kiss work goodbye? You may be headed straight for the beach. We’d tell you to pack suntan lotion for when you leave, but then, you’ve probably already planned that, too.
25 to 35 or more points: So near, yet so far. While you may have a good understanding of what a retirement plan needs to include, it’s time to put your ideas into action. Check out IHateFinancialPlanning.com for some easy to understand, non-intimidating ways to fill the gaps of your plan.
16 to 24 points: Minimum effort may not get you where you want to go. Your plans could still use some fleshing out. You may want to consider talking with a professional to help solidify your dreams. Keep your retirement goals in mind and get a financial plan that will keep you headed in the right direction.
12 to 15 points: Early retirement, or any kind of retirement, might not be in your future. Get thee to a financial professional! If the mere thought of it makes you queasy, at least do this: mark your calendar for Feb. 3-10. That’s the official celebration of I Hate Financial Planning Awareness Week, a week dedicated to helping people who hate financial planning learn how to deal with money matters and how to manage and invest money. You’ll find more information and ways to cope at IHateFinancialPlanning.com. It even has an on-line panic button that you can push to get out your financial frustrations.