Your golden years should be a wonderful time. Studies show that your retirement years can be full of joy: rates of life satisfaction see a second peak in people aged 69 and happiness with one’s body peaks at 74.
But if you’re going to make the most of your retirement, you have to start saving and planning now. And you’ll also need to know what your options are if things don’t go quite as planned. That’s why we’re here to lay out your path to retirement, and your options for dealing with unexpected obstacles.
Planning your retirement
Retirement isn’t cheap. Sure, you likely won’t need quite as much cash as you did during your working years — ideally, you’ll have paid off your mortgage and your children will be supporting themselves. But you’ll still need money to live on and to enjoy in all of your newfound free time.
You won’t have a salary or income from work when you’re retired, so you’ll likely rely on two things: your savings and your “passive income”. Saving money means, of course, spending less than you earn. But it means growing your wealth, too: if all you do is save a portion of your salary, you’ll soon find that inflation has robbed you of your hard-earned wealth.
The solution is to make your money earn interest. This means putting cash in a savings account (they have higher interest rates than checking accounts) and in stocks, bonds, and other investments. You’ll want a diversified portfolio and a fairly slow-and-steady approach, especially as you approach your retirement date and become more risk-averse in your strategy.
When your investments are working as intended, they’re growing in value. But investments can also produce cash, such as stock dividends. This type of cash is called passive income, and it’s a great way to build wealth and generate an income — even after you’ve stopped working.
A classic example of passive income is the income you’ll get from a rental property. Owning a rental property is a financial one-two punch: you’ll earn an income via rent while also holding onto a valuable asset that can appreciate over time.
If you do invest in a rental property, be sure to make use of powerful online landlord software to make your work easier. When you use your software to set up a rental application or perform a tenant background check, you’ll be done with your work quickly and can get back to enjoying life. This can make working as a landlord a feasible thing to do even while you’re officially retired.
When you’re retired, you’ll be living on a limited income and drawing on your savings and the plans you made years ago. But things can get tricky when unexpected expenses crop up. It’s tough enough to scramble for cash to cover emergencies when you have a solid steady income — when you’re retired, things like sudden medical bills can be a real disaster.
But you do have options. If you need cash fast in retirement, the best option may be to draw on assets you own but can’t typically use right now. Examples include viatical settlements and reverse mortgages.
Let’s take those one at a time. What is a viatical settlement? Put simply, it means selling your life insurance settlement before you receive it. Viatical settlements are available to seriously ill people struggling with medical bills. This can be a great way to get cash now and avoid dangerous debt. Sometimes, it’s worth much more to have cash right here and right now.
Reverse mortgages turn your house into a source of cash. They’re just what they sound like: you’ll get a cash payment every month from your lender, and then they’ll get paid back when you pass away. The sale of your home will generate the cash to pay back the loans, but it won’t happen until you no longer need the house (your heirs can also choose to pay off the loans and keep the home).
Retirement is a wonderful thing, but it takes planning and cleverness to get the most out of it. Prepare wisely, know your options, and love your retirement!