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Old 12-30-2009, 08:08 AM
6,267 posts, read 4,740,348 times
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Giesela, your experience is probably the norm. People who really understand the financial markets are not getting by scrounging up a few hundred dollars in one-time consulting fees. The current economic collapse should at least have taught us that the vast bulk of the bankers, financial managers and other supposedly trained pros act as if they were dumb as bricks. I have a friend who tried 3 times for a mortgage and was turned down as a poor risk. Finally she found some slimy outfit and got a mortgage. The mortgage was bought by the first lender who turned her down. WTF is wrong with these people? I have decided that any financial planner who is good enough to even half trust is beyond the level I could afford.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:23 AM
Location: Maryland
1,534 posts, read 3,783,140 times
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To the OP: Today (1/3/10) is my third anniversary in retirement. So far, its been a blast! Kudos to you for recognizing that it does take some serious planning to make the transition go smoothly and the earlier you start the better. You're 5-7 year timeframe gives you a comfortable span to research and explore the many considerations you will need to address. My $0.02 on a "sort of" checklist follows. You asked for general suggestions and hopefully my comments are responsive to your request. Retirement planning can be a bit complex in the sense that many items are interrelated, (where you live, need for proximity to family needing support, your economic situation, health status, etc.). This may be too simplistic but here is how I went about it. A real checklist useful to your specific situation is not feasible for me to offer you but hopefully the following comments might be helpful. I began my master plan around the same timeframe you have noted, about 7-8 years before launch. My approach (and I repeat, just mine, not the best or worst, just mine) began with the following major areas, each of which should lead you to develop a checklist specific to your situation.

1) I started with preparing a basic survey and model of expected income and obligations/expenses and the related legal structures appropriate to my situation in retirement. That process revealed that I needed to get a lot better information base on such items as health insurance, Medicare, tax rates, retirement account withdrawal requirements, wills, trusts, etc. In general, its mandatory for folks to clearly develop a real understanding of their expected income and minimum financial obligations. You and your spouse/SO need to be accurately informed of what your income status will be. Sounds simple, but you'd be surprised to find out how many people don't do a very good job of it. It behooves you to really model a retirement financial environment specific to your situation and fill in the blanks on your status. You are at a point where you need fairly hard numbers (obviously to extent available) for planning purposes going forward. Many,(not all), of your options will flow from that information. Its best to develop a model budget of minimum income/expenses as your starting point. It doesn't have to be fancy or prepared by a professional, but it does need to be real.

2) Where to live/lifestyle requirements and preferences. Surprisingly, many folks have some undefined and vague ideas about relocating in retirement without having given thought to the impact and consequences of uprooting themselves and moving away from their current homes. Familial ties, friendships, support networks, etc. can be an immense component to one's quality of life and really impact your happiness factor. I mention it simply because the instance of folks who move and then return to their previous location is reportedly not uncommon. There are more than a few unhappy golf widows who regret moving to a golf community where the guy is happy but she lost her social network - just an example for thought. Others have quite happily moved to new locations and never looked back. A multi-year period of consideration and some real world pre-retirement research is advisable before one makes such a dramatic change. I spent quite a lot of thought (and many mini-trips) on where and in what environment I wanted to live in retirement. The incidental fact that I remarried shortly before retiring had an obviously significant impact on changing the "my" to "we" preferences on those deliberations, but I think you get the point. Ultimately, we decided to stay put for the foreseeable future, it was the best choice for us. Your financial situation will obviously define some of your options but there are many non-economic factors which I suggest you jointly consider before making any significant changes. I am loath to offer anyone specific advice but would suggest that a "chill out" period of staying put for a year or so post-retirement isn't a bad idea. It gives one a bit of time to sort through the transition of moving from the working world to being truly free and in command of what you do with the future.

3) How to enjoy your new freedom - probably the least researched area of retirement planning. This issue will be uniquely personal to you, both as individuals and as a couple. Your health status is at the top of the impact list, everything else is secondary. Its well worth your time to focus on this area. Presuming that you are relatively free from health limitations and economic considerations, its a wonderful time to explore anything you want. Travel, hobbies (old and newly developed), skills, educational options, books, etc., etc. ..... it is almost limitless. I've found retirement to be the most enjoyable period in my life to date. You hopefully have a wonderful time awaiting you.
In summary; do your homework on your numbers, really think about where and what type of place you want to live, do seriously develop a healthy lifestyle as needed and get ready to explore and enjoy life! Best of luck to you.

Last edited by Pilgrim21784; 01-03-2010 at 01:06 AM..
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