Regardless of the specifics, once you’ve retired, figuring out what to do for the next several decades of your life can be a daunting, overwhelming task. Not only are there so many seemingly endless possibilities, there are quite a few concerns and fears that crop up. What am I going to do? Where am I going to live? How am I going to pay for everything?
While the process can be intimidating, it can also be a lot of fun. While there are tough questions that have to be answered, there are other, more fanciful ones that need to be contemplated as well. Can we afford to buy that Winnebago I’ve always wanted? Do I want a domestic or international retirement itinerary? Are there places I’ve always wanted to go? People I’ve been waiting too long to see?
All of these questions need to be taken under consideration. They need to be explored and weighed against one another.
Obviously, there are no one-size-fits-all answers when it comes to retirement planning. One couple’s romantic retirement getaway to Hawaii might be a nightmare for someone who is terrified of islands and oceans. Another person’s lifelong dream to explore the wild, beautiful depths and heights of Iceland seems more like punishment for those preferring more tropical climates. The point isn’t to squeeze yourself into an uncomfortable mold but instead to truly explore what gets your blood pumping and starts motivating you towards solid planning and steering.
While traveling is often at the top of every Retirement Wish List, what travel means to one person can be incredibly different from what it means to another. For one person, “traveling” means day-trips that always end with your head on your pillow at your home each night. For others, it can mean domestic flights and road trips to favorite US destinations. For others still, travel means foreign (often exotic) destinations and demands passports, shots and a lot more homework and leg work to orchestrate.
What does travel mean to you?
Where do you plan to spend the majority of your retired time? Will you largely remain home, actively volunteering and staying involved with the community but then traveling to a foreign location for a week or two in the summer or winter months? Or perhaps you’re thinking of living internationally and only coming home to visit with the kids and grandchildren. To start planning and budgeting, it pays to know what you intend to do, where you intend to go and how long you plan on staying there.
While there are hundreds (if not thousands) of websites online that can help you learn to plan a luxury overseas retirement on a ridiculously realistic retirement budget, settling for a vague notion of the costs just isn’t going to cut it. You need to be brutally realistic about your retirement budget and always assume that your costs will be higher than you anticipate. How much can you afford? Are you going to have to liquidate assets to finance your retirement? Are you aware of local rules, regulations, real estate restrictions or work restrictions that exist in overseas countries you might be considering moving to?
While there is much to be said for the daydreaming aspect of retirement planning, at some point, it’s time to get serious about things. When you find yourself within the ten year window of retirement, it’s time to have an honest, all-encompassing idea of the lifestyle you’ll be able to afford. If you are accustomed to a certain standard of living but don’t have the savings to match that standard of living here in the States, you might need to contemplate overseas locations where the dollar stretches a lot further.
However, once you’ve analyzed your priorities, determined what retirement travel means to you and then carefully scrutinized your budget to make sure that you can comfortably finance your Dream Retirement, finding the perfect place to spend your retirement years after all of those decades of hard word will almost be a piece of cake!
Steve Miller writes for the senior finance guide on Assisted Living Today, keeping families financially prepared.
The articles are written by personal finance enthusiasts (not certified professionals) based on their personal experience. What works for them may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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