I hope you’ve enjoyed this course as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing it to you. I also hope you’re now able to approach your retirement years with a lot less stress and a lot more confidence!
Following is a list of what I hoped you’ve learned. If you feel a little shaky on any of these topics, not to worry: You now have a guide you can turn to any time the mood strikes.
What you’ve learned
In Week 1, you figured out your life expectancy, then thought about what you wanted your remaining life to look like. You created a list of specific things that deliver happiness and personal fulfillment. As you approach and enter retirement, refer back to your list and allow it to evolve as you do.
In Week 2, you took stock of exactly where you are financially. If you didn’t already have one, you also created an online Social Security account. You computed your net worth, and agreed to update it at the end of every month. You became organized, with all your important documents gathered, scanned and digitally stored so you can easily find them. Keeping yourself organized makes keeping on top of things frictionless.
In Week 3, you created a spending plan. If there’s anything in this course that will change your life, this is it. Consciously directing your spending allows you to set and reach financial goals, plug money leaks and ensure your precious resources are being used efficiently.
In Week 4, you learned a proven and powerful method to conquer your debt, avoiding years of unnecessary payments and interest. Destroying your debts means taking money that’s funding some lender’s retirement plan and using it to fund yours instead.
In Week 5, you started wrapping your mind around Social Security. You learned the basics about when you can get it, how much you might expect, how it’s taxed, how spousal benefits work, how to maximize your benefits and how to get inexpensive expert help to determine exactly when you should file.
In Week 6, you considered how to invest for retirement. You learned a simple, subtract-your-age-from-100 formula to help you allocate your retirement assets among stocks, bonds and cash. I told you some simple, low-cost funds you might consider. Finally, you discovered you can manage your own money, but if you choose not to, you learned how to find an adviser you can trust.
In Week 7, you started to answer the big question: When will you have enough to retire? You learned some major concepts behind converting your savings into a lifetime income stream and found that one of the best methods is to maximize Social Security.
In Week 8, the rubber hit the road: You learned to create your own retirement projections, with the help of Social Security, compound interest and required minimum distribution calculators.
In Week 9, we looked at a way to supplement your retirement income: reverse mortgages. We also explored a way to convert your savings into a lifetime income stream: annuities. We talked about the types, the pluses and minuses, and where you might find the best deals.
In Week 10, we looked at the reasons why we might want to work during retirement, at least part time. We offered up ideas on where to find work, how to start your own business and working from home. We also offered tips to make yourself as marketable as possible, and gave you some links to places that can help you find employment. Finally, we discussed the tax implications of additional income in retirement.
In Week 11, we talked about living a longer, healthier life. We confronted the fact that many of us don’t lead a healthy enough lifestyle and discussed some simple, fairly painless and inexpensive ways to get back on track.
In Week 12, we tackled the question of downsizing, where to live in retirement, and turning your house into an income-producing asset by taking on boarders. We also discussed renting versus owning, something that may appeal to those who’d like to sample different places or have a little less hassle in their lives. Finally, we looked at retirement communities and at stretching your retirement income by living overseas.
In Week 13, we talked about one of a retiree’s biggest potential expenses: medical costs. We delved into the details of Medicare (Parts A, B and D), as well as Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap policies. We talked about long-term care insurance. Finally, we offered ways to save on medical care in retirement.
In Week 14, we laid out a countdown to retirement, with specific tasks you should be doing five years, four years, three years, two years and one year from the designated day. We also discussed things everyone should be doing regularly, no matter their age.
There you have it! Your complete guide to living the retirement, and the life, of your dreams.
One last thing
I’d like to think this course is perfect, but having been on this earth for 60+ years without yet doing a single thing perfectly, I know it isn’t. So, as we part for now, I’d like to ask a favor: Tell me what we can do to make this course better. Was it too complicated? Not complicated enough? Are there things you wanted to know we didn’t get to or explain well? Please help those that follow you by letting us know.
I’d also like hearing from you if you liked this course and found it time well spent. The most flattering compliment there is? Recommend it to your friends and become a part of the Money Talks News family by clicking here. It doesn’t cost a dime.
As you know by now if you’ve read this course, although I’m “retirement age,” I’m not going anywhere. So let’s stay in touch! Feel free to stay involved in our Facebook group and keep me updated on your progress. I love seeing people making their dreams a reality.