This question was posed to me recently and I was kind of caught off guard. Growing up, I have constantly heard my elders say “oh you have a long time before you retire” or “you don’t have to worry about that right now”. In actuality, now is the time to really start thinking about it and planning for it. Family members and senior people I have known have either worked until the Lord called them home or until they were physically unable to do so anymore. There was a man Mike knew who was 1 week from retirement and ended up passing away, which was the saddest scenario but also a wake-up call. We have to enjoy life NOW and plan our lives with the intentions of doing so.
One thing you can start looking into now is calculating how much 401k you will have vested and also your estimated social security earnings. You can go out to the social security website right now and get a glance. It is also good to start seeing how much you’re making now and how long you will have to work at that salary in order to have enough to live off of monthly when you retire, OR start thinking about that long-awaited promotion and how waiting may impact your future. And the ultimate question that everyone asks is “at what age can I retire?”. I think the question that goes along with this that you have to ask yourself is “when would I like to retire?” The standard response is 65 but is there the possibility of retiring earlier, maybe at age 50? For those of us knocking closer to 40, that would be incredible! Only a few more years to go, sign me up lol. But other things to consider also are our dependents, for example, our parents & children. It’s always in our best interests to make sure that they are taken good care of in the event that we fall ill, depart, or desire to retire early. For my parents, they used to tell me to mind my own business or stay out of grown folks business when asking about their financials, healthcare, or bills but now it should definitely be my business, especially since it will be if someone (heaven forbid) falls ill. With this, we start to think of our children’s future whether it’s planning to go to college or entrepreneurship, to ensure that they have a great start or boost to avoid the dreaded loan world.
The last question is: what do you plan to do when you retire? I thought, wow, that is a good question. I always dreamed of traveling or performing as an actress on a Broadway tour for fun but never really locked it in in my mind exactly how it would look the day after retirement. I recently had a conversation with my previous manager at work (who just retired last month) in asking what her plans were and how she felt about it. She was excited yet one of her initial fears was “will I have enough funds to survive off of?” She also thought “How will it feel the next day to wake up and not be obligated to be present at work or have anything mandatory to do?” To me, at this moment, sounds like a dream but I know after a couple of days, I would have those same thoughts and fears. Will you travel? Where to? For how long? Then what? Develop a hobby? Help someone or yourself achieve a lifelong dream? Will you live in a house, apartment, retirement community or mobile home? I recommend sitting down one day and reflecting on this. Have this discussion with your partner, friend, and even family members to get the conversation going and hear others’ thoughts on it. I’d love to hear them as well.
Take good care and go on a vacation this Summer! Enjoy life!
~Yo! Mama Mesh